Week 22: Peer to Peer Chat

Collaborating. Growing. Reflecting.

The Power of Self-Reflection through Video Recording

Food for Thought: If you were the only one viewing a video of your lesson for the sole purpose of being able to reflect on a particular area you wanted to "zoom in" on, and you could do this without anyone else coming in to video, would you be up for it?


How would this work? By using a really cool tool called SWIVL, which allows teachers to wear a device around the neck, place your own device (or a district issued mini iPad) onto the swivel and as you walk around the room teaching, the SWIVL does exactly that....swivels in whichever direction you are located in order to capture a 360 degree view of your room.


Where can you get access to the SWIVL? I have recently checked out a SWIVL from the Office of Educator Quality, so please email me directly if you're interested in trying it out this week or next! I can show you how to use, but if you do not want me in the room, that's completely okay, too! :)


Of course you can always simply use your laptop or other smart device. Here's some tips to consider if you do reflect on your teaching through video.


Recording Yourself and What to Look For

Before you video record yourself, you might want to think of some targeted areas you want to play close attention to as you view it later. Try thinking about different aspects of your teaching and the various strands from the PPfT Rubric to give you some focus.


Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • How much time am I talking vs. students?
  • Do I get off track at all? How often?
  • Am I using various engagement strategies that get my students moving, collaborating with one another, or asking questions to peers?
  • How clear are my instructions for activities?
  • How clearly do I communicate the big ideas in a lesson?
  • Am I checking for understanding throughout the lesson using different methods?
  • Do I interact with students effectively?
  • What are students doing as I’m teaching or working with other students?
  • Does my method of instruction seem appropriate for the content and goal I have in mind?
  • How much time do I spend talking about things that don’t need to be talked about?


The Reflection

So, it goes without saying, the first time you have taken the leap of recording yourself you may feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable. But, remember, you are the only one that has to view it (if you want) and this is such an incredible eye-opener for self-reflection (doesn't have to mean it's a negative thing).


As you sit to reflect, your first task is to remember that we are all our own worst critics, so when you reflect try to not become overcritical of yourself. We always seem to have one way that we believe things take place and that the video distorts this. It's OK.


The second task is to simply identify one or two target areas that you set out to reflect on prior to the video recording. If you try to target all kinds of things about your teaching that you want to work on, you’ll get overwhelmed and frustrated. Not fun. Remember, this video reflection is for a positive experience and to focus on one or two takeaways. Focus instead on just acquiring those one or two “takeaway” kinds of insights that you can then go back into the classroom and work on.


Your third task is to remember to also take a way a few celebrations that occurred during your lesson. Find a reason to give kudos to yourself, you deserve it! Remember, this experience isn't about changing yourself – but, rather about growing in your profession and celebrating the goals you have set for yourself.


The final task is to set goals based on what you observed after watching the video.

Video has a way of pointing out some of our biggest defects and highlighting our largest strengths. Always remember, follow through is often the most difficult thing to do in this video experience. But, keep in mind if you watch yourself but do nothing different afterwards, then will this experience really accomplish what it is intended to do?


Are you ready for your own professional development and reflection challenge? Remember, if you'd like to use the SWIVL, please email me at danielle.rivera@austinisd.org