In the past, for both school leaders and teachers, educational skills were developed primarily through individual trial and error rather than through observation and collaboration. School leaders are now attempting to break through that educational barrier by observing teachers so that they can receive valuable feedback and improve their teaching skills. Whetstone’s observation platform has helped bridge this gap and make observation software an easy and valuable part of teacher growth.
Now we’re taking things a step further with a new mobile app that uses video to improve teacher coaching, evaluation, and learning processes. Adding video into coaching and feedback gives school leaders a powerful new coaching tool and even allows them to implement virtual coaching if needed.
How Video Coaching Can Be Used to Reflect and Set Goals
Self-reflection is at the heart of any learning process. Though the teacher coaches are the ones providing feedback, video enables the teachers themselves to reflect on their own habits and teaching styles as well. Teachers may enter the profession with a preconceived idea about what good instruction is supposed to look like. According to a study by Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, this leads to “imitative, rather than intentional, practice.” It goes on to explain that “Systematic self-reflection, on the other hand, sharpens the intentionality of the practitioner and allows him or her to address the unique challenges of the classroom.” When school leaders use video coaching, they are able to pinpoint specific weaknesses and help teachers reflect on how their practices can improve.
By integrating video into coaching and evaluation, school leaders will have the ability to focus on not just how the teacher is handling instruction, but how the classroom is reacting as well. In traditional observation, it can be difficult to focus on more than just the teacher. But with video, school leaders can get a broader picture of everything going on inside each class. This added level of observation is crucial to teacher growth. “Sometimes the challenges that require action are not the ones teachers see or hear (in the moment)...while working with a small group, teachers may miss off-task students in other corners of the classroom,” the Harvard study states.
For school leaders and teachers, reflecting on practices relies on accurately remembering what happened during the lesson. Reflection is best when it’s specific, but memory can only provide a vague overview. With Whetstone’s new video coaching app, school leaders are able to easily capture and upload video. Better yet, all of their videos live in one centralized hub on Whetstone’s platform, allowing leaders to coach teachers more effectively by referencing specific lessons.
Video Coaching Makes Virtual Teacher Coaching Possible
One of the most unique aspects of video coaching in comparison to traditional coaching is that now school leaders and teachers do not have to share the same physical space to gain valuable feedback. With all of the day-to-day managerial work that school leaders have to do, it’s no wonder that teacher coaching can get overlooked. With video coaching, school leaders can perform virtual coaching for several teachers on their own time, without having to rush around to different classrooms.
According to GettingSmart.com, “A coach doesn’t have to be present for the video recording, and the teacher can identify when and where they want to make a recording, which is usually 10-20 minutes.” Video coaching allows for a more targeted approach to feedback and actually takes less time than observing in a classroom setting. This way of coaching is not only efficient, but it also helps both the coach and teacher look back on the lesson and take notes. With video coaching, a school leader can watch directly what a teacher is doing or the teacher can record a lesson and send the segments they want feedback on through the app at any time.
With Whetstone’s video coaching app, school leaders are going to have even more options when it comes to coaching and providing feedback for their teachers. Coaches can even ask teachers to leave notes so they know what the lesson plan for the day is about, rather than going in blind to each classroom setting. Teachers are then empowered to implement tips and feedback from their coaches into future lessons and reupload those updated lessons to the video hub.
Video Coaching Opens the Door to Increased Collaboration
School leaders can find themselves getting stuck in their ways when it comes to classroom observation and feedback. However, as video is introduced into the coaching environment, there is more room for collaboration among teacher coaches. Now, multiple coaches can watch and rewatch the same teacher’s lesson, providing their own insights and collaborating with each other to offer the best feedback possible to improve their teachers’ performance.
Using Whetstone’s Video Coaching App
For school leaders, video coaching can be an easier and more efficient way to provide teachers with feedback. Video can not only make the coach's life a little easier, but it can also help the teachers feel greater satisfaction with the feedback process. By harnessing the power of self-reflection and not relying on memory alone, both teachers and coaches can make huge improvements in performance by integrating video into their feedback process.
Contact us today to learn more about how Whetstone’s classroom observation software can greatly improve your teachers’ performance.