Using Videos to Strengthen Mentor Teacher Coaching

 

Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Video 4
Sarah works alongside her preservice teacher to model good teaching strategies. After watching the videos, Sarah learned that co-teaching with the preservice teacher, using a specific instructional technique, provided support and modeling. In this lesson, Sarah modeled various ways to keep students engaged in the phonics lesson. By watching videos of herself coaching, Sarah focused on questioning techniques for the next lesson and modeled them for the preservice teacher.

 

Lori Rakes, Florida Southern College, lrakes@flsouthern.edu
Rebecca L. Powell, Florida Southern College, lrakes@flsouthern.edu
Ms. Sarah Anderson, Roberts Academy 2nd grade teacher, sanderson@flsouthern.edu
Bethany Blevins, Florida Southern College Teacher Candidate, bethanyblevins3@yahoo.com

Teacher educators know that video recording developing teachers for the purpose of teaching them to self-reflect and target areas for improvement of practice is a strong tool in their growth (Calandra, Gurvitch, & Lund, 2008). In addition, coaching from the mentor teacher creates “in the moment” learning environments for developing teachers. Video recordings, primarily used to support the growth of the developing teachers, may also be used to support the growth of mentor teachers as instructional coaches. Ms. Sarah Anderson, a mentor teacher, alongside Dr. Rebecca L. Powell and Dr. Lori Rakes, found that video recordings of herself, as the mentor teacher, helped improve her “in the moment” coaching techniques.

As part of coursework connected to clinical experience, developing teachers were required to video record themselves teaching a lesson and use a reflection template to record comments. The two faculty members teaching this course also viewed the videos to provide feedback to the developing teachers. While watching Susan’s (pseudonym) video, the course instructors noticed the feedback mentor teacher, Ms. Anderson, gave to Susan during the lesson (“in the moment” coaching). Although the feedback was accurate, it lacked clear focus, but instead, included many areas where Susan might improve. For example, in the lesson segment, Ms. Anderson coached Susan in the areas of explicit directions, student engagement, better defined phonics rules, and the readiness level of students. Through watching the video, it was apparent that Susan was overwhelmed by the barrage of feedback that encompassed so many different areas. She later explained, “There was so much feedback during the lesson that I could not target the area I needed to work on first.”

Because of the partnership work and relationship the instructors had with Ms. Anderson they asked to meet with her about feedback. Without giving specific instructions on what to look for, they watched the video together. Almost immediately, Ms. Anderson commented that her feedback seemed too quick and scattered. “I’m not sure that Susan even knows what to do to improve on this lesson”. After that conversation and reflection, Dr. Powell, Dr. Rakes and Ms. Anderson created a plan to support Susan and narrow Ms. Anderson’s instructional feedback to one focus area for the next lesson. Ms. Anderson met with Susan and together they decided to target her methods of engagement.

Through the use of video analysis and reflection, Ms. Anderson discovered that although she provided feedback, the lack of structure appeared to inhibit rather than enhance Susan’s growth as a teacher. This collaborative video analysis with Ms. Anderson strengthened the “in the moment” coaching for Susan and all developing teachers Ms. Anderson has mentored since. “By watching myself during Susan’s lesson, I now provide feedback that is focused and actionable.”

There is strong evidence that the use of video analysis impacts developing teachers’ practice. Based on this experience, we believe the use of video analysis to improve mentor teachers’ coaching techniques warrants further exploration.

Reference

Calandra, B., Gurvitch, R., & Lund, J. (2008). An exploratory study of digital video editing as a tool for teacher preparation. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 16(2), 137-153