A few months ago I read a book by Jim Knight called Focus on Teaching and it inspired me to think about recording my coaching and teaching sessions with other educators. As I read the book, it made total sense. How else can we improve if we never truly now how we interact with our students or how we facilitate learning? Video recording can leverage learning as well as our teaching abilities. It sounded like a brilliant idea and I was motivated from Knight’s words to try it, but I won’t lie, it took a lot for me to even contemplate the idea and give it a go.
I couldn’t help but remember an educator I worked with (@misskflood) who videotaped herself facilitating a Number Talk. How she used this recording was for her eyes and what she learned from it, we have yet to discuss. As I thought and was inspired by @misskflood, months flew by. I had every intention at the time I had read the book to video record, but it never transpired. Maybe I was avoiding it?
There is a high level of vulnerability when recording ourselves teaching. You first have to look past how you sound and how you look to get at the power of how video recording your teaching can improve your practice. You may, ultimately, find something that crushes your confidence as an educator, but what if it moves you?
I then decided to take my first leap during my last coaching session for the year. Why not take a risk on the last round of collaboration before heading into the summer?! If I never try it, I will never know.
It was a soft entry where I simply audio recorded two pre-conferences with two different educators. I explained to the educators that I was looking to improve myself as a coach and that I wanted to get feedback from my colleagues about my level of questioning and reducing the amount of time I spoke. I really want to listen to those that I collaborate with and this recording would give me a window into whether or not I was doing just that. The funny thing is that after explaining to them why I wanted to record there was no hesitation on either of their parts! I thought it would discourage the educators from opening up, but what I learned was that may have been my excuse for not recording prior to this 😉
“I think that there is a difference for teachers between the abstract of how we see our practice and then the concrete reality of it.”
Having the pre-conference recorded was a no brainer. My phone sat on the table and it was like it didn’t exist; but what came out of listening to the meeting after was brilliant. I thought I heard all that was said while in the moment, but the ideas and things mentioned that I had missed was more than I could have ever thought. Not only did I have the documentation from the meeting, but now I could add to the thinking and ideas that the educators and I were going to work towards during our 5 week collaboration.
I took this recording and went one step forward and shared with my colleague and mentor when it comes to coaching. What I had thought I needed to work on was not listening, but from her feedback it was evident that I needed to work on honing in on the goals for the collaborative experience. We discussed possible questions I could use to improve the student and educator goals and, in the future, where I could ask these questions during the pre-conference.
Having taken the leap into recording coaching sessions, it is now a strategy that I will continue to use and leverage when it comes to improving my coaching abilities. I highly recommend you take some time to think about how this could be used within your classroom to improve yourself as an educator. It was an amazing experience and I will never hesitate to do again!
Yours in learning,
Great video to get you thinking about recording:
Bill Gates Ted Talk on “Teachers Need Real Feedback”