Every teacher needs to look in the mirror on a regular basis because you learn a lot when you look at yourself.
Remembering how a lesson went is dodgy. We can’t remember everything and the soundtrack and visuals can get disorted and blurry. There will be plenty of bias thrown in and various bits of unseen footage.
When you video yourself teaching you learn heaps. You might not necessarily feel comfortable when it comes to playback time but it is a fabulous way of getting to see ourselves as others see us.
Everyone has little things that they ‘do’ but in a learning environment, gestures and favourite words can be a major distraction. We might touch our nose more than we need to, say ‘basically’ 100 times a day or fail to ‘work the room’. Do we frown a lot? Do we forget to have fun and smile? Do we teach in the same monotone voice? Do we speak too fast? Do we deal with incidents professionally or with sarcasm? Do we get flustered or stress in front of the class? Are we encouraging enough? Are we too defensive?
Our own classroom behaviours are fascinating and we might not even be aware of them. One thing is for sure – children will. They will know every tic and every annoyance going and they will playback to each other at breaktime and after-school!
When we video waht we do we can really focus in on what we say and how we say it and who we are saying it to. It’s not our intention to exclude children but watch yourself on video and you will discover some uncomfortable truths – you might unwittingly favouritise some children.
A video will show if we talk too much and whether children are effectively sat in a lecture rather than an interactive lessons. Do we model good behaviour ourselves and ask lots of querstions? Are we curious and enthusiastic or staid and boring?
If you are feeling particularly brave then don’t watch the video alone – gather some colleagues together and let them share what they think. Just make sure you return the favour!
We have to watch ourselves teach in order to learn – we can’t rely solely on others to do that. The most powerful lesson observations are the ones where we are doing the watching.