I recently had the good fortune to work with an intern recently. It is always great professional development and a chance to impact the future of teaching by working with an aspiring teacher. Our internship journey had a unique, reflective, and what I feel is a game changing twist. A twist that is commonplace in many other professions and that is video analysis. Just like a football team would get the game film and break down what happened on offense, defense, and special teams and look for tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses in order to learn from and improve on last week’s performance, this process was very similar.
We embarked on what was know as the TIFA (Teacher/Intern/Faculty Advisor) program lead by Dr. Kathy Nolan of the Education Math Department at the University of Regina. The process involved recording an interns lesson, editing and submitting a 10-15-minute portion of a lesson, then getting together with the Faculty Advisor, other educators, and other interns to break down, reflect, and discuss what was in the video. First the video was shown in it’s entirety with the group writing down different elements of what they noticed in the lesson and the delivery. Noticing points could be on content, classroom management, student response, and more, but the key thing was to just notice and not make judgement statements in the first round of open reflection. We would go around and make statements like ‘saw head was down’, ‘heard you say cancel out’, or ‘the students had many questions on that problem’. After a round of noticing the intern that was videoed was able to make reflective comments on what was noticed, offered explanations, and made connections to all elements of their teaching. Finally, we had a round where we could drill deeper on an area that stood out and have a deep meaningful conversation with all involved. The atmosphere created for this type of reflection was safe, open, and trusting. We had two meeting that were face to face and we these days participating in meaningful professional development for all involved. We also did one session via video conferencing where we previewed the videos on our own and came to the meeting having seen the videos and did our noticing before hand. The face to face was more personal and intimate, but the video conference was also effective as the technology worked well and was time and cost effective. During the last session, cooperating teachers we also invited to share a clip of one of their lesson. I took this opportunity to get feedback and share some of my practices. I appreciated the candid feedback and the ideas that it generated for me. Overall it was a great experience and enriched the internship process for me and the members of this group.
This process involves having a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. This opportunity is not meant as a way to judge, but rather a way to improve and reflect. We can all get better at our craft. I would also like to see this at a school level with teachers working together and sharing ‘game’ film and having conversations about teaching. I have reflected on this experiences and would invite others to consider this type of professional development. Looking for a couple resources to help you explore this opportunity check out https://www.edutopia.org/blog/video-pd-power-of-observation-nira-dale or Focus on Teaching Using Video for High-Impact Instruction by Jim Knight. As always feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter @vendi55.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 19 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.