Self-reflection is really hard without video. Our memories are incomplete, we don't have eyes in the back of our heads, and we tend to focus on the things that didn't go well. Video overcomes these challenges, but only if you have an effective framework to help you focus on what matters and refine your practice iteratively over time.
Video not only improves our self-reflective practice but maximises the power of lesson observation and peer feedback too!
Remember that lots of different professions use video to capture practice and use it to later review and reflect. Athletes have been doing this for a long time!
Some benefits of using video include:
- It has unlimited memory
Unfortunately, we are all too aware of how human memory is fallible. Put simply, people forget over time. This becomes a significant issue when trying to recall what actually happened in this morning's lesson, or when having observation debriefs hours, or even days later. With video, the lesson may be reviewed at any time and from multiple perspectives.
- You can rewind and repeat it
Unlike our memories, we can come back to a video at any time, revisiting and repeating sections. A great benefit of this is being able to turn our attention to different elements of a lesson or with a different reflective lens.
Perhaps you recorded a lesson with the intention to reflect upon your use of questioning, but the following week realised that you might wish to develop your use of pace in lessons. You could revisit last week's lesson with this new focus, and identify an (unbiased) baseline to develop from.
- Video is objective
As well as deteriorating over time, our memories and minds are affected by multiple cognitive biases.
Using video allows an objective view of our classroom practice and, when sharing with colleagues, offers a record of practice from which to explore and discuss.
“It allows a relationship of trust to quickly build up because you're both viewing the same piece of objective video footage.” - Dawn McMurtry, Development Lead, Teach First.
Having an objective display of your practice can also be great to boost your confidence and celebrate those successes and achievements - without letting a modest memory get in the way!
“I'm able to see the strengths in my classroom management technique which has allowed me to maintain my confidence in the classroom.” - Trainee Teacher
- Eyes in the back of your head
You can only remember, recall and reflect upon what you actually noticed during a lesson. However, when reflecting upon a video, you may see events and interactions which might have been missed in the moment. The IRIS Connect system records a wide field of view to support this.
“Using IRIS Connect has meant recognising instances where students are not adhering to expectations in the lessons, which had gone unnoticed by me in the past.” - Trainee Teacher
- Avoid scheduling challenges
No matter how established an open classroom ethos might be, trying to find a feasible time for a colleague to come to see your classroom in action can sometimes be impossible! Even if they do make it in to see the topic/intervention/class that you are focussed on, finding a time to debrief becomes a second challenge.
Using video allows you to overcome these scheduling clashes and allows a 'time-shifted' retrospective reflection process. With comments and replies, discussions can continue over time too.
“When it comes to scheduling and you’re asked to observe a very specific lesson, it can be quite hard [...]. IRIS Connect has given us the flexibility to be in two places at once.” - Tamar Wolfson, Development Lead, Teach First.
- Overcome distance and save time
If you are keen to collaborate with colleagues across a trust, sharing practice across different sites is so much easier, as you break down barriers of distance. You can reflect, review and discuss over distance saving vital travel time.
- Make speedy progress
Because of the ability to avoid scheduling issues for feedback, using video can help to speed up the process of developing or honing a certain skill. You can see your progress happening in the flesh and build upon it quickly.
“Within the same week, you can talk about something that's happened in the lesson, make a comment, discuss it, and then see that being actioned in a subsequent lesson.” - Dawn McMurtry, Development Lead, Teach First.
- Add context
Time-stamped comments mean that those noted examples of how you are meeting your professional development goals never lose context. With a comment linked to the moment in a video where it is exemplified, the context is always available.
- You can share and collaborate!
Delivered a great lesson which would have been perfect to exemplify what you have been working on with your department head? Had another challenging situation with those couple of pupils (which never happens when colleagues are around!)? If you have your lesson captured on video, you can clip and share it with a click of a button to allow colleagues to review and then feedback.
“Using video has meant lesson feedback is a collaborative process. Together you have a really in-depth conversation about practice, which is exciting!” - Vicky Blake, Development Lead, Teach First.