One of the primary goals for instructional coaches is to support teachers with effective strategies. As a part of an instructional coaching cycle, coaches will work with teachers around strategies that a teacher would like to learn more about. Many times the coach models the strategy (questioning, cooperative learning, learning environment, engagement strategies, etc.) in the teacher’s classroom while the teacher observes and takes notes. The goal is for the teacher to implement the new practice after the observation and debrief with the coach.
A coach may identify several strategies that she or he would like to implement across the building or district. An effective and innovative approach to modeling instructional strategies is through video creation.
Amanda DeGroote (Instructional Coach at Waukee Schools in Iowa) and Jennifer Eggert (Innovative Learning Coach at Bloomingdale School District 13 Schools in Illinois) have used video creation via the WeVideo platform to transform instructional coaching practices in their schools.
Amanda DeGroote (@degroote44)
We utilize videos in various ways at South Middle School in Waukee.
This year we focused on writing in the content area. With that, our color team Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have discussed how they use writing. Our elective staff members are not able to attend these PLCs as they have students during that time. We recorded their discussions and had visuals for elective staff to still see and be a part of the discussion.
In our Language Arts classrooms, we record book talks and present an example for students to see so they know how to go about this process. We thought it was more meaningful to have a student example rather than a teacher’s that wouldn’t be as specific.
I have recorded teacher conversations and interview practices so teachers or student-teachers can see how they present themselves and what this can look like for others in that discussion.
Some teachers have wanted to record themselves teaching to be able to identify specific areas for feedback and to see the reality of their teaching. This is a nonjudgmental approach to their teaching. I typically record this and give it to them without looking at it since I was in the classroom with them. I will let them have a chance to watch the video and then we will debrief a couple of days later. This gives them time and space to think about what they noticed and the areas they want to improve on.
ESL classrooms have utilized videos a tremendous amount. While students are learning language, having the visuals to go alongside the speaking is very helpful. We have given feedback to other students via video and they then listen and speak to one another. This enables students to practice multiple modes of communication.
Guest speakers have been a wonderful opportunity for some students, but not all students are able to attend these times when we have a guest speaker. We have recorded authors, specialists, genius hour topics, etc. to allow all students to have access to this special learning opportunity.
Jennifer Eggert (@MrsEggert13)
Instructional professional development via videos transports staff into a world where they can really see learning in action. Additionally, being able to see OUR teachers and OUR students (as opposed to only reading about it or viewing a video on the Teaching Channel) engaging in the learning experience fosters a unique kind of relatability. This may encourage teachers to say “You know what, I could do that too” or “My kids would totally benefit from this strategy.”
Amy Fonk, one of the Kindergarten teachers in our district, has said “Being able to see that another teacher has done it (and how it works) makes it more relatable. It says to me ‘If she can do it, then I can do it!’ Nothing is more powerful and motivating than learning from another teacher who is in the classroom actually using the app, instructional strategy, etc.”
WeVideo allows for different elements to reinforce the instructional value of the strategy. The speed up/slow down, annotation, and title functions provide a meaningful way to transmit messages to enhance professional learning and growth.
Just as we provide our students with innovative tools to make learning richer and more meaningful, it’s essential that we as educators use these tools in dynamic ways. The school environment, the classroom, and the teaching profession are all undergoing large-scale changes in how they function in the context of global education. As our circumstances change, so must our thinking, and so must our own professional development and learning.
Additional resources shared by Jennifer Eggert
This blog post/podcast (with student video samples included) serves as a model for the Ignite Speech presentation mode.
These short videos showcase how Whole Brain Teaching can be facilitated in the classroom. It’s much easier to SEE than just hear about.
Check out this video example and breakdown of a meaningful Morning Meeting to build a classroom community.
Student-Led Discussion presentation with tangible video examples
Watching videos of student-led instruction has given our teachers a better idea of how to turn over the responsibility in the classroom.