Providing all of our teachers, especially those new to the profession, with ongoing and personalized support is a priority of ours at St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD). For the last three years, we’ve provided this support to new teachers with the help of video coaching.
SVVSD hires approximately 200 teachers annually, 25% of whom are typically brand new to the profession. We use video coaching to help them acclimate to the classroom and get familiar with the process of ongoing assessment. Teachers capture video of their teaching practice, upload it to the Edthena platform then share it with coaches and colleagues who provide critical feedback. Teachers get to see themselves through their own eyes. It encourages reflection. And when this happens they are able to see where they need to adjust their instruction and they make those changes on their own.
Thinking of using video with your staff? Here are three tips that have worked for us:
- Hone in on specific skills and strategies. Focus on specific strategies and provide targeted feedback on those strategies. Take increasing student engagement, for example. Rather than focus on everything taking place in the video, our coaches and teachers will watch video to specifically see how engaged students are in the learning process. They will then make comments about what they observe and discuss targeted strategies the teacher can use to increase engagement.
- Make it collaborative. Video coaching is all about collaboration and engagement. All of our teachers and coaches play an active role in the process. Encourage your teachers to frequently observe videos of their peers and provide feedback. It is particularly beneficial for novice teachers to watch and learn from videos of their mentor teachers.
- Share best practices widely. Make your videos accessible to other teachers at your school and in your district. If you have a teacher who excels at leading small reading groups, share his or her videos with others looking to improve this skill. This helps to create a common language and vision across the district.
Diane Lauer is assistant superintendent of St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado.
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