I recently had the good fortune to work with an intern. It is always great professional development and a chance to impact the future of teaching by working with an aspiring teacher.
Our internship journey had a unique, reflective and what I feel is a game-changing twist. A twist that is commonplace in many other professions and that is video analysis. Just as a football team would get the game film and break down what happened on offense, defense and special teams; and look for tendencies, strengths and weaknesses in order to learn from and improve on last week’s performance; this process was very similar.
We embarked on what was known as the Teacher- Intern-Faculty Advisor program led by Dr. Kathy Nolan of the Education Math Department at the University of Regina. The process involved recording an intern’s lesson, editing and submitting a 10- to 15-minute portion of a lesson, then meeting with the faculty advisor and other educators and interns to break down, reflect and discuss what was in the video.
First the video was shown in its entirety, with the group writing down different elements of what they noticed in the lesson and the delivery. Noticing points could be on content, classroom management, student response and more, but the key was to just notice and not make judgment statements in the first round of open reflection.
We would go around and make statements like “saw head was down,” “heard you say cancel out” or “the students had many questions on that problem.” After a round of noticing, the intern who was videotaped was able to make reflective comments on what was seen, offer explanations and make connections to all elements of their teaching. Finally, we had a round where we could drill deeper in an area that stood out and have a deep, meaningful conversation with all involved.
The atmosphere created for this type of reflection was safe, open and trusting. We had two face-to-face meetings and we spent these days participating in meaningful professional development for all involved. We also did one session via video conferencing where we previewed the videos on our own and came to the meeting having seen the videos and did our noticing beforehand.
The face-to-face was more personal and intimate, but the video conference was also effective as the technology worked well and was time- and cost-effective. During the last session, we also invited co-operating teachers to share a clip of one of their lessons. I took this opportunity to get feedback and share some of my practices. I appreciated the candid feedback and the ideas that it generated for me. Overall, it was a great experience and enriched the internship process for me and the members of this group.
This process involves having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. This opportunity is not meant as a way to judge, but rather a way to improve and reflect. We can all get better at our craft. I would also like to see this at a school level, with teachers working together and sharing “game” film and having conversations about teaching.
I have reflected on this experience and would invite others to consider this type of professional development. If you are looking for a couple of resources to help you explore this opportunity, check out www.edutopia.org/blog/video-pd-power-of-observation-nira-dale or Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction by Jim Knight.
As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @vendi55.