Looking for a new way to reflect upon and improve your teaching? Learn more from your own classes by recording lessons!
Receiving feedback from administrators, parents, and peers is extremely helpful for teachers to improve how they conduct classes. To receive a thorough breakdown of areas that need improvement, teachers should consider recording lessons to provide a clearer picture of how they conduct their own classes.
Before Recording Lessons
Recording lessons allows teachers to see themselves clearly through a different perspective. Before recording lessons, discuss this new initiative with administrators and advise parents. Though state laws regarding child privacy in school vary, as a good-faith measure, administration might advise teachers to request a release from parents to film students while recording lessons. If any parents raise concerns or express their desire to not have children recorded, respond politely by informing them that it is for your own reference only. Parents who insist that children not be recorded can be reassured that their wishes will be respected and the classroom seating arrangement will be altered to ensure these students are not included on the recording.
Lights, Camera, Education!
The benefits of recording lessons stay with teachers throughout their careers. After taking a deep breath and becoming comfortable with watching themselves onscreen, most teachers will enjoy the follow changes to their classroom approach.
1. An Objective Sense of Teaching
While having observers watch an occasional class can lead to objective constructive critique, other people aren’t always able to share comprehensive solutions. Whether teachers aren’t ready to open up to others regarding their own concerns for improvement or are unsure of who to ask because of schedule challenges, having other people observe your lessons isn’t always a great option. By recording lessons, educators are able to develop an objective point of view.
2. Becoming More Attuned to Student Reactions
Students are notorious for saying they understand content despite the confusion they feel during lessons. Teachers aren’t always aware of the cues that show a student’s inability to grasp concepts. Through recording lessons, teachers will see the initial reactions of students through sighs, anxious breathing changes, or body language. Educators will also be able to gauge how students react to being assigned different types of projects in addition to children’s preferences, or dissatisfaction, when they must complete certain exercises.
3. Learning More About Student Engagement
In addition to noticing the ways in which certain material elicits different student reactions, teachers who begin recording lessons will be able to gain an understanding about how their students engage with them throughout the day. Certain students might be strongly affected by lectures, while other children exhibit greater understanding through alternative teaching methods. Reviewing class footage will help teachers learn about the most effective way to blend different teaching strategies to maximize student engagement.
4. Making Time for Missed Opportunities
When recording lessons, many teachers will not only recognize improvements to the methods they use, but also the moments when an additional example would have been useful or opportunity to elaborate further was missed. This is especially helpful during unforeseen moments, such as when a student poses a tricky question, or times of debate between kids when a moderator is useful.
5. Noticing the School-day Slowdown
Teachers often experience days that fly by, as they are responsible for teaching such a large amount of curriculum and covering many standards in a limited amount of time. For students, there are times throughout the school day when momentum slows, interest wanes, minds wander, and their eyes might start to close. Recording lessons will help teachers identify the types of lessons, or their own approaches, which aren’t conducive to maintaining student interest. By learning from these slow moments, teachers can adjust their strategies to create more excitement and combat boredom.
It’s a Wrap!
It is the teacher’s responsibility to properly store and dispose of any material that is no longer needed. If you determined that videos were only for your reflective purposes, archive them appropriately and ensure no one else has access to them. If the videos will be shared on class social-media pages, include a notation within the release form explaining that the footage from recording lessons will only be posted for parents, administrators, and fellow teachers to view. Don’t forget to use the appropriate social-media security settings when posting videos to class pages.