Last week we hosted a webinar featuring three very impressive instructional leaders from across the country. They discussed best practices for coaching teachers with video on SmarterCookie. Here’s a bit about each of them:
Charlie Friedman is the principal at Nashville Classical Charter School in Nashville, Tennessee. His teachers share one video per week and then discuss this video in a weekly coaching meeting. Each week he reviews the videos and chooses a couple clips to highlight as “Bright Spots.” He aims to “catch” teachers doing something great.
Andrea Yee is an instructional coach at the Reach Institute for School Leadership in San Jose, California. She coaches new teachers who are working to earn their credential. Teachers participate in a monthly coaching cycle, which includes capturing instructional video of their class and receiving specific feedback from Andrea.
Denise Colley is an instructional coach at McFarland Middle School in Othello, Washington. She works with 40 middle school teachers on a volunteer basis. Denise records teachers’ lessons and then meets with them to discuss goals for improvement. Denise also records her coaching conversations to continuously improve her own practice.
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
What do teachers use to record instruction? Where do they set up the camera?
Teachers use all different video recording devices, but our leaders like using the SmarterCookie app on their iPhones or iPads because it makes it easier to record and share videos. Setting up the camera on the side of the room has been successful, keeping the profile of the students and teacher in the camera view.
How do teachers explain the camera to students?
Most teachers are transparent with their students, telling students that the video camera is used to help them become better teachers. After a while, students don’t even notice that there’s a camera present.
How do I provide feedback on a video?
Start with the things that are going really well; teachers are often critical of themselves, so it’s important to point out those “bright spots.” Look for students’ reactions. Focus on specific evidence and use common language to discuss. Generate next steps and concrete actions that the teacher can take.
It’s nerve-racking seeing yourself on camera. What helps?
All teachers are hesitant to record themselves at first, but once they start watching themselves and receiving feedback, they see the benefit. As an instructional leader, you can record yourself first to model how to watch the videos. Additionally, starting with short videos helps.
How has video coaching impacted teachers?
Teachers are able to see exactly what needs to improve in their instruction, and they can set concrete goals that make a big impact in the classroom. Teachers can see their growth over time by watching videos that span a year. Additionally, watching someone else’s video can clearly model how to implement a skill or lesson in the classroom much better than trying to just talk about it.
If you missed the webinar last week, you can still get a glimpse of the discussion in detail. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll send you our notes. And due to popular demand, we’re planning more webinars to enable the SmarterCookie community to share video best practices. We never stop learning and improving!