As educators learn to navigate the pandemic's post-lockdown era, it is evident that a lot has changed.
While students are back in the classroom and there is less reliance on virtual lessons, there is still an expectation that video and lesson streaming is still readily available. It has also become evident that the rolling lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have significantly impacted the teaching industry. Teacher retention, learning loss and student behavioural issues are just a few challenges the education industry faces today.
Supporting professional development for teachers
Through video coaching and mentoring, teachers can access the support they need to successfully overcome the challenges they face in the classroom. New teachers can tap into the knowledge and experience of their more experienced counterparts, making it more likely that they will thrive in their teaching careers. Experienced teachers can enhance teaching skills and enjoy a collaborative approach to professional development.
When we’re talking about mentoring and coaching, we are not talking about traditional approaches. Traditionally, evaluation systems dictate that a teacher’s performance during observations has an impact on whether they are re-hired, especially for new teachers. The observer may hold the power to end or continue the teacher’s job. There is often a heavy reliance on rubrics, checklists, and “look-fors” to help guide the evaluation process.
The type of coaching and mentorship we’re referring to is helping teachers to improve teaching methods, building relationships with students, and helping teachers feel supported throughout this process. This type of coaching and mentorship is much more manageable when an existing relationship is present. Why? Its primary purpose is to empower teachers to build strong, trusting relationships with their students. Teachers who have a strong, trusting relationship with their coach or mentor can use that relationship as a model of what to build with each student they teach.
Building a platform for continued success
Video is a powerful tool in this type of coaching and mentoring. Feedback shifts from performance-based to collecting and citing evidence. Being able to discuss what was observed makes it easier to set goals, track progress over time, and, when trusting relationships are present, creates the space for open dialogue.
When coaches and mentors observe recordings to measure things like talk time and student questions, they can view these things through the lens of relationship building. Is what they are observing cultivating strong, trusting relationships between the teacher and students? Based on Swivl’s research and experience, the following five questions can help coaches, mentors, and teachers view recordings through a relationship-building lens:
- Is the teacher asking a lot of questions to the students?
- How is the teacher prompting dialogue in their classroom?
- When students respond to questions, is the teacher listening effectively to them?
- What methods is the teacher using to capture the students’ attention?
- Does the teacher know and use the students’ names?
How to get started with video coaching
It can be daunting to implement a video coaching program within a school. Educators often feel anxious about recording themselves, and without a process or plan in place, it can be difficult to know what to do with the videos once they’re recorded. However, if implemented correctly, a video tool such as Swivl can be invaluable for a teachers' professional development.
“I had a certain vision of what I sounded and looked like. But I think because I viewed it by myself first, I felt comfortable,” says Rachel Robinson, a Year 2 teacher at the Inaburra School in Bangor, NSW. “I think it’s helpful to use it as a snapshot of what my practice was like, and then I can look at it again to see what it is now and compare the two.”
Feedback without clarity results in confusion. Classroom observations should have clear intentions. In the Swivl feature, Sessions, we’ve made it so you set your Intention upfront. As with many meaningful activities associated with delivering feedback, the first step is to define your ‘look-fors’ for yourself and your feedback partners. Essential questions to ask yourself when setting an Intention for your video:
- What do you hope to accomplish in this video?
- Does the evidence you will record allow you an opportunity to achieve your Intention? If not, before you proceed, it might be helpful to go back and record another short segment of the instruction that allows you to explore the context of your Intention.
- Where do you want your viewers to focus so they know how to reflect, question, and comment throughout your video?
- Watching the video and completing the exercise (e.g. watch the entire recording in one sitting, uninterrupted)
During your Session, make sure you take advantage of the feedback features. This includes:
- Time-stamped annotation on the video – the more time you take to reflect on what evidence you choose to address, the more evidence there will be for others to respond and reflect on
- Web bookmarking – highlight your strength and weaknesses
- Comment prompts – ask for specific guidance and utilise Rubrics that go into your school’s coaching or self-reflection frameworks.
Combined, these tools pave the way for structured, meaningful feedback on every observable teaching practice exhibited throughout the video.
Coaching, self-reflection and collaboration with Swivl
The Swivl Teams + Robot
solution as a video coaching and mentoring tool can be used in various
ways to facilitate self-development for teachers. School communities can
foster positive relationships through peer and mentor coaching,
self-reflection and student coaching. These relationships help educators
thrive, enable positive student-teacher relationships, and help
teachers feel supported and connected.
*The information in this blog is extracted from Swivl.
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