Get teachers jazzed about self videotaping and peer observations, handout


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Session 192535

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Get teachers jazzed about self videotaping and peer observations, handout

  1. 1. Get Teachers Jazzed about Self-Videotaping and Peer Observation Presented at TESOL 2011 Annual Convention New Orleans, Louisiana March 19, 2011 Session 192535 Laurel Pollard Educational Consultant 1
  2. 2. Teachers want to deliver effective instruction. And two key components ofsuccessful professional development programs -- Self Videotaping and PeerObservation -- can provide momentum for change. But it isn’t easy for teachers toget excited about new projects when they are already overworked and stressed.This workshop we’ll re-enact today can energize a faculty by • eliciting the hopes and fears of all the teachers at a school • creating two Pilot Teams: teachers who volunteer to try either Self- Videotaping or Peer Observation and then recommend site-appropriate ways to implement both projects school-wide. • making sure these initiatives are not top-down but rather are designed -- by the teachers who will use them -- to be worth their time and to serve them well.What follows is the script for a workshop that brought impressive results when itwas offered at a large middle school • in an economically stressed neighborhood • during AIMS testing week • one week after word came down that a third of this faculty would not be getting a contract for the next semester.Given all that, the principal and coaches at this school thought that no teachers – orat best only a few – would volunteer for the Pilot Projects. Yet twenty-one teachers signed up (from a faculty of 45). They formed twoPilot Teams, did the work they volunteered for, and created systems for Self-Videotaping and Peer Observation to be implemented the following semester.Teachers are under stress, but their commitment remains strong. Note: The focus for the year in this school was increasing student engagement. 2
  3. 3. IntroductionAs teachers enter, they see this on the whiteboard, large and colorful: Student Engagement Pilots Needed for Two Pilot Projects . . . 1. Self-Videotaping. Why? To see WHAT IS. 2. Peer Observation. Why? For school-wide osmosis of good ideas YOU are the ones who can make these systems workable and useful at ________ School!Take a colored card from the table; write your name on it.This is yours. Keep it; use it as a bookmark if you like.Or if you decide to volunteer for one of the Pilot Projects, just write which projectyou choose and give the card to me as you leave.Schools across the country have tried to engage students more.And you know where I’M coming from . . . the more we engage students, the morethey learn AND the easier our lives become as teachers.Some schools succeed in this. Others don’t.The successful schools use Self-Videotaping and Peer Observations.But they do it right, not wrong – they figure out how to maximize the benefits andavoid the pitfalls. And they figure out how to do it in ways that make teachers’ liveseasier, not more difficult.These two projects will go school-wide next semester.But (principal’s name) doesn’t want it to be top-down.You are the people who know how this can work well for ________ School. 3
  4. 4. Self-VideotapingTrainer’s opening remarks:My own first experience of videotaping myself and my class was in my third year asa teacher. • My pacing made me look nervous, even though I was not. • I totally ignored the students in front, on my left! And I’d been doing this without noticing it for THREE YEARS.In later videotapes, I started watching my students. I saw a lot that I didn’t noticewhile I was teaching – e.g., who lost attention, who raised a hand that I didn’t see. Igot a lot of good ideas about things I wanted to do differently.And by the way, when you see yourself on tape, remember: • No, you don’t sound like that. • And no, you don’t look like that.Recordings add pounds and distort voices.Faculty Process for Self-Videotaping:1. Take a sheet of paper. On the top, write “Self-Videotaping: what can go wrong.List reasons NOT to videotape your class. You don’t need to write your name. (3minutes2. Now turn your paper over. On the back, please write the best outcomes you canthink of. Go ahead, dream big! (3 minutes)3. Using Numbered Heads Together, share some of these ideas with the wholefaculty. (Trainer elicits first the negative ideas, then the positive ones)4. (Trainer collects all the notes.)5. Scope of work for pilot teachers: (Trainer writes this on white board.) • Tape your class once. Upload it to your personal computer. • Watch it. • Fill out a brief form (technical check, mostly) • Attend one meeting to recommend a system to use school-wide next semester. You will have the full list of notes from today’s workshop, so you will know what your colleagues dread and what they hope for.Our aim: to avoid all the pitfalls you just wrote about, to make this easy for ________School teachers, and to gain the benefits you just dreamed up and wrote down. 4
  5. 5. Peer ObservationsTrainer’s opening remarks:We need to be careful about how we give feedback. (Trainer gives a couple of shortexamples here from personal experience, one negative, the other positive). Peerobservations must be supportive, not critical; confidential; professional. Arecommended formula: “One thing I saw in your class that I can use to engage mystudents more.”Faculty Process for Peer Observations (a repeat of the steps above) 1. Take a new piece of paper and write “Peer Observations” on the top. Write the worst you think could happen if you do peer observations -– based on your own experience, on things you’ve heard about, or on what you imagine. (3 minutes) 2. Now write the best you think could happen. Again, let your imagination go! (3 minutes) 3. Using Numbered Heads Together, share some ideas with the whole faculty. 4. (Trainer collects these notes.) 5. Scope of work for pilot teachers: (on whiteboard) • Observe a colleague once (15 min to full period). YOU choose whom to observe. You may do this during planning period (if cross-subject) OR the school will provide someone to cover your class. • Fill out a brief form. • Attend a meeting after spring break to recommend a school-wide system for next semester. You will have everyone’s notes from today’s workshop.The Pilot Teams will help make sure the negative things in these notes do nothappen here -- and the positive things do!Sign-up: If you would like to be on one of the pilot teams, take the colored cardwith your name on it and write Video or Peer Observation under your name. Give itto me – and have a very relaxing Spring Break! A Final Note This will not be YOUR script. My hope is that it may spark your own good thinking. Jim Cummins and others rightly point out that policy-makers aren’t helping teachers deliver effective instruction – change has to be at the school level. Cummins issues a call to action: as classroom teachers, we have to do this ourselves. 5