Classroom observations can be stressful to teachers and burdensome to supervisors. Teachers often think they’ve been caught in their worst teaching moments, not their best.
The Best Foot Forward project at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research analyzed the use of digital video to let teachers record lessons and choose their best to submit for their classroom observations.
Observers provided time-stamped feedback aligned to specific moments in the videos. That facilitated discussions with the teacher on his or her teaching.
Compared to a control group, the digital videos “boosted teachers’ perception of fairness of classroom observations, reduced teacher defensiveness during post-observation conferences, led to greater self- perception of the need for behavior change and allowed administrators to time-shift observation duties to quieter times of the day or week.”
Videotaping and teacher evaluation don’t mix, writes Anthony Cody. Teachers don’t trust promises they’ll control who sees the tapes.
MOOCs, which work best for educated people, could help teachers learn new skills, writes Derek Newton in The Atlantic.
A MOOC approach to professional development—having teachers watch and learn from other successful educators who are actually teaching—could help move these offerings past the status quo.
. . . “Being able to actually see teaching practices modeled—as opposed to just being lectured to on the concepts—is a game changer in professional development,” said Alvin Crawford, the CEO of Knowledge Delivery Systems(KDS), which provides interactive professional-development programming for teachers.
It should be much easier to watch good teachers teaching — perhaps to watch three good teachers try different approaches to the same subject.