Expert VIewpoint

How Video Enhanced Coaching Sets Educators Up to Reflect and Grow

Teachers make an estimated 1,500 decisions per day — just part of an already intensive workday. Without additional support, this leaves little time for self-reflection and professional growth to occur.

To help set educators up for lasting instructional success, districts can provide flexible, personalized opportunities for educators to learn and advance — like those provided through virtual coaching.

While technology is important for providing flexibility, virtual coaching is most impactful when there’s a clear purpose, plan and process in place. During my time as an instructional coach, I leaned on the power of video to help educators reflect, learn and grow within their roles.

Here’s why.

Video fuels self-reflection

Self-reflection is one of the greatest forms of professional learning. Video enables teachers to capture real moments within their classrooms, which can then be used to identify areas of strength and opportunity.

Video is especially helpful for educators to measure and reflect on learning development. One research study found that when participants recorded and analyzed their teaching, they were able to focus on details that were often overlooked in informal reflective practice or formal evaluation — heightening awareness of their overall progress.

Teachers can also use video to analyze students’ actions during class, such as:

  • Engagement with course content, peers and educators

  • Level of understanding (e.g., instructions for an activity)

  • Behaviors with peers and adults

  • Quality of conversation

Video builds trust and ensures accountability

Video is a great starting point for identifying the reality of a situation and building trust between coach and educator.

Research conducted by Dr. Jim Knight, who has studied professional learning and instructional coaching for over two decades, finds that trust is the most important variable in coaching. When teachers trust their coach and their school system, they usually embrace the help that coaches provide. However, if they don’t trust the coach or system, they likely will not want to participate in coaching.

Related: [Video] Differentiated Coaching to Deepen Teacher Reflection

To build and sustain trust, teachers and administrators should collaborate to identify “handoff goals” at the beginning of the coaching process. During this time, leadership should confirm what the teacher wants to learn, needs to learn and will learn through instructional coaching.

Personalized, actionable feedback

Instructional coaches can reference recordings to help educators identify tangible, realistic goals, and monitor the implementation of new strategies and/or resources in the classroom.

Because video offers a real-world example, coaches can use it to personalize and tailor feedback — ensuring maximum impact for the teacher.

To enhance professional learning, leverage the power of video

With the support of pandemic relief, many districts are implementing new resources to better support teaching and learning — including instructional coaching programs.

To make the most of these investments, it’s critical that educators aren’t lost in the shuffle. Instead, teachers should be given autonomy over their professional learning experiences — and coaches must honor educators’ choices and discretion.

Video-enhanced instructional coaching leads to greater, more effective use of pedagogical strategies among teachers, ultimately resulting in increased engagement and performance from students. To make the most of professional learning and coaching, districts are encouraged to harness the power of video and impact of virtual coaching.

About the Author

Allyson Burnett is director of Virtual Learning at Sibme.