Video-Powered PD!

How do you build a culture of trust?

GUEST COLUMN | by Adam Geller

CREDIT EdthenaTo meet the increasing demand for higher quality professional development, schools and districts are increasingly turning to video coaching to support teacher growth. This technology-enabled process allows teachers to reflect on their practices and work collaboratively to hone their craft.

Like any new technology initiative, it’s important for schools to develop a smart implementation strategy for video coaching. It’s equally important for coaches and administrators to ensure teachers are comfortable with what could be a daunting process for them.

Many teachers are hesitant to watch themselves on video. They are often anxious about what they sound or look like, and often rush to judge themselves too harshly. These worries are normal, however creating a supportive culture around video-based professional learning can greatly help.

book cover.jpgThe new book “Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning” helps coaches and administrators create and implement a video coaching plan. It outlines 12 essential video coaching strategies, such as Classroom Tour, Self-Interview, and Example Analysis.

The book also provides educator- and research-driven ideas for building a culture of trust. Five of the ten of these ideas, which all help build a safe and supportive environment where teachers can reap the full benefits of video-based professional learning, are highlighted below.

  • Be clear that video will be used for professional learning and not for evaluation. Teachers will be more comfortable sharing video of themselves if there is reassurance it will not be used for evaluative purposes. Coaches and administrators should clearly communicate that video will only be used for professional learning.
  • Start small and go slow. At least at the beginning, using video within small groups allows individual teachers to build the relationships necessary to make themselves vulnerable. Coaches and administrators can also consider allowing teachers time to practice capturing and sharing video, so that they gain confidence using the technology.
  • Consider voluntary vs. mandatory participation. Organizations such as The Center for the Future of Teaching & Learning at WestEd advocate for voluntary participation in video-based professional development. This can take a lot of pressure off of teachers at the outset.
  • Consider heterogeneous grouping, in terms of experience and proficiency levels. Coaches and administrators should consider grouping teachers in a way that supports professional growth for all teachers. It is important to build groups with teachers of varied experience—both early career teachers and veterans. This reinforces the idea that everyone has room to improve.
  • Sell the benefits of working with video evidence of teaching and learning. Coaches and administrators should share with their staff the reasons why video-based online platforms support teacher growth. For instance, it can be persuasive to explain how peer videos allow teachers to see what works and what doesn’t with their specific students.

Giving careful consideration to these ideas and others will help coaches and administrators build the necessary culture to support video-based professional development and help teachers truly benefit from the process.

Interested to learn more? Read this past EdTech Digest interview.

Adam Geller is the founder and CEO of Edthena, a video coaching platform for teacher development. A former classroom teacher, he is also the author of “Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning,” which helps school leaders make and implement a plan for how to best use video-powered professional learning with teachers.

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