Video as an Accelerator of Reflection

David Baker and Karen Smith, authors

A theme of the past several posts has been how video of a lesson, as a component of a coaching conversation, reduces the cognitive load and increases the capacity of a teacher for reasoning and deeper reflection. Video can easily be used at multiple places in a Reflecting Conversation. After the Summarize and Recall region, a coachee may have readiness to watch video to support and enhance recall. Another place in a Reflecting Conversation where we have deepened reflection through the use of video, is the Analyze Causal Factors region. By watching the video after the Summarize and Recall region, the teacher has not only refreshed their recollection of the event, they are primed to go deeper through the questions exploring Decisions, Others and Comparisons (D.O.C) that is often used to help analyze causal factors. One other advantage of using video as a third point is that teachers may want to re-watch a short segment of a video.

Decisions are seemingly nonstop during instruction. Asking a question such as, “As you watched your video, what decisions did you make based upon observing your students?” or “What instructional choices did you make as the lesson unfolded that enhanced student learning?” Often watching the video after the Summarize and Recall region will increase a teacher’s readiness to answer these types of questions. Being intentional in referring to the video supports the use of this point. As a coach, I often remind myself to gesture at the device to help focus thinking back to the video.

Looking at Others is a strength of video reflection. A teacher may remember or focus on a specific event, interaction, or student. We also know as teachers that there were antecedent behaviors or events the teacher may have missed. Video allows a teacher the opportunity to examine the words and behaviors of students in the antecedent moments with greater accuracy. Often a question such as, “What did you see or hear that may have led to/accelerated/precipitated event you noticed?” will draw a teacher back to the video. “As you watched the video, what surprised you that students doing or saying?” is another question that will help a teacher reflect on others in their classroom.

Comparison questions flow very easily into a reflecting conversation. One of my new favorite questions to help a teacher compare was learned from Carolee Hayes, Co-Founder of Thinking Collaborative. Carolee asks, “On reflection, what might ‘the you’ (their name) that taught the lesson tell ‘the you’ that planned the lesson?” Another way we have asked this type of question is, “As you watched this lesson, how did what you taught (or what students did) compare to what you envisioned as you planned the lesson?” We try to be very deliberate in using visual or auditory language cues with video as it provides such a strong connection within a coaching conversation.

These questions and connections of video to the Reflecting Conversation are helping teachers we coach to not only accelerate their thinking about their teaching, but to help teachers see their practice through their own eyes. Video is a powerful third point that can deepen teacher reflection.