I was so fortunate this week to attend a two-day symposium hosted by my great board for mentors of new teachers. The days were presented and facilitated by Jim Knight, leader of the Kansas Instructional Coaching Project. We learned about research in the field of instructional coaching and best practices, and engaged in a lot of stimulating dialogue around the topic.
One of the discussions which piqued my interest the most was around one of Knight’s most important strategies: filming teachers to support self-reflection. In his belief and experience, teachers become empowered as objective assessors of their own practice when they literally see themselves teach. I practically had my cheerleader pompoms out when he brought this up, as I have been a proponent of this for a long time (read my post on the topic here).
I think many people recognize digital imaging and video as a documentation and product creation device, but few speak about cameras as assessment tools. For some reason (perhaps historical), we still think of image capturing as an evaluative act. Dancers, athletes, and actors generally accept filming and viewing as, in educational terms, an assessment for learning act, but it is not part of our culture at all. So much so that it’s almost novel to see a video of a teacher in action.
I know that many would cite the ‘privatization of teaching’ as a culprit in this, or the obvious connection that people generally dislike viewing themselves on video as it can be a horrific image indeed. But I wonder if there’s more to it, which is why I’d love to hear your theories.
What do you think? Do you think teachers are ready to be filmed? If not, why do you think that is the case?