David Baker and Karen Smith, authors
Video is a tool that supports and enhances what teachers notice and draw upon as they are coached. The noticings of a teacher, whether it is in the summarize impressions or analyze causal factors steps of the Reflecting Conversation or in the specify success indicators of the Planning Conversation or as a 3rd point data source, can be general, internal – about themselves or external – about their students, systems or learning. What is noticed can be reflected upon and Cognitive Coaches believe that accurate self-reflection is a learnable skill. As a coach, I rely on the coaching practice of having the coachee recall before outside data is offered. Video can help a teacher notice more and reflect deeply within a coaching framework.
So why is video powerful for increasing noticing? Video supports memory and recall. Ebbinghaus demonstrated that the brain is designed to forget specifics over time. The longer the delay, the greater the forgetting. Video supports clarity. The data a teacher sees from video will include what they noticed in their initial reflection as well as words, actions and reactions that were unnoticed or not remembered. Seeing after remembering supports clarity. Video supports objectivity of noticing. Data or events can be re-viewed instead of remembered. The coachee can watch and participate in the data gathering instead of relying on the insights of the coach.
In reviewing research on noticing we read, “Characterizing pivotal teaching moments in beginning mathematics teachers’ practice”. They shared research showing one major difference between expert and novice teachers is the ‘‘form and structure of their attention’’ (Mason 1998, p. 243). In Cognitive Coachingsm a goal is to increase resourcefulness of the person being coached. Coaching is designed to support the form and structure of the noticing, leading to thinking and awareness. Video enhances the noticing and thinking in the conversation. This line of thinking is furthered by van Es and Sherin (2002) In their Learning to Notice Framework. They highlight three main components of teacher noticing in the context of analyzing artifacts of classroom practice: (a) identifying important aspects of the situation, (b) reasoning about these aspects, and (c) connecting what is observed to more general ideas about teaching. Cognitive Coachingsm is the process we use to understand these three components. Video is the third point data source used to focus these coaching conversations. Cognitive Coachingsm supported by video increases noticing by supporting memory, providing clarity to noticing elements of practice instructional and objectivity by allowing the coachee to actively participate in the gathering of data.
A coaching question we often use to increase noticing with video is “How does what you observed compare with what you thought happened?” Next week we will explore more questions we use and frameworks that support coaching and video as a third point.