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Instructional Focus + Video = Professional Learning Success: Instructional Coaching Strategies that work

If You Really Want to Grow Your Teachers, Video is the Secret Sauce to Success: Instructional Coaching Strategies that work


It Only Took 25 Years

I had been in education (teaching and leading) for 25 years when it finally happened. Success!

What is success? Success is when teachers begin to earnestly implement instructional coaching strategies that they have been learning into their lesson plans and teaching practices. Success is when teachers decide that they will never go back to the way they used to teach because they have found a better way—and they change.

What’s the Secret Sauce for Success?

Success comes when teachers believe they can improve and learn from watching one another teach—and the most convenient way to do that is to use video. When teachers start filming their teaching practices, everything will start to change. The secret sauce for success is adding video as a tool for achieving success with the school’s instructional focus.

What are the Obstacles?

There are two major obstacles. First, most teachers have never been filmed or ever watched themselves teaching. The second major obstacle is not having access to the right technology: large cameras, lots of cords, no way to edit, challenging to play back technology. Luckily, the technology is no longer an obstacle! Technology platforms like Sibme (Seeing is Believing me) make it easy to download an app and record, upload, collaborate, and learn from others.

Instructional Focus + Video = Success

How does it work? It all starts with the school’s instructional focus. Here’s an example of how a school added video as a tool to achieve success with the school’s instructional focus of Quality Questioning:

Components Time Steps
Build Psychological Safety around using video Window of 5-10 school days Ask teachers to get used to filming and viewing themselves: Do a classroom 360 and narrate, discuss a philosophy of teaching…
Current Reality Window of 10-12 school days Using the Sibme app, ask teachers to film and save in their private workspace a 30 – 40 minute “anchor lesson” using direct instruction
Share the school’s instructional focus and define the following terms that relate to quality questioning:

·      Volunteers

·      Non-Volunteers

·      Shout Outs

·      Silent Students

·      Wait Time 1

·      Wait Time 2

5 School days Ask teachers to review their anchor lesson looking for quantitative data as follows:

How many “volunteers” did you call on? Non-volunteers

How many “shout outs” did you allow?

How many students were totally silent?

Which student had the highest level of participation–#’s?

Average the length of Wait Time 1

Average the length of Wait Time 2

Teacher reflection 5 school days Have teachers tally their data

Review “optimal” targets of the data

Based on their data, what do teachers identify as their quality questioning strengths?   Weaknesses?

Share reflections with peer/coach/admin?

Developing Norms 3 to 5 school days School and/or teams create norms around sharing video
PLCs at work – “locally” 10 to 15 school days Teachers are asked to set goals by PLCs, teams, or department

Teachers begin rehearsing to improve and meet goals

Teachers agree to film lesson segments that include them demonstrating mastery with the goal(s)

Teachers share their videos in their collaboration huddle and view it together at a meeting

Teachers reflect on what they have learned from others & establish new goals

PLCs at work – “globally” 10 to 15 school days PLCs from various contents or grades are grouped together for the purpose of sharing strategies they have been focusing on
Whole-School Reflection 5 to 10 school days Whole-school reflection on the “lessons learned” from the process of using video-enhanced learning

Next steps are formulated



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