Christophe Mullings is Head of Education at IRIS Connect. He has nine years teaching experience and completed a Masters degree on effective professional learning.
The ways in which schools are using video technology to support teachers’ professional learning are developing all the time. But one thing remains constant; there are always those who are resistant to the idea of using video as part of their CPD.
Whether video is being introduced to provide more effective coaching support for NQTs in a bid to increase retention; to save lesson cover costs and make collaborative enquiry work around the timetable; or to simply encourage a reflective culture amongst staff, introducing video for CPD requires a plan to reassure teachers and ensure they feel empowered.
Some teachers will have personal concerns: they may simply hate the idea of seeing themselves on camera; or be worried about whether the technology will be used for performance management. Others may roll their eyes at yet another thing to add to their ‘to-do’ list.
Here are eight top tips to help gain staff buy in and see impact from video-based CPD:
1. Communicate. Clear communication of the benefits of using video, gaining feedback and following up on this is key. Inviting others to talk to you and your colleagues about their successes with video can prove very reassuring.
2. Ensure there is trust in the system. In order to build trust and ownership, video should only be used as a developmental, supportive tool, something that’s to be understood and respected by the whole school community. Collaboratively creating a code of practice is helpful to ensure transparency on how lesson videos are shared (the teacher should always remain in control), how data will be securely managed and stored, and how video will be used for teaching and learning.
3. Start in a neutral place. Begin by watching a lesson clip from a neutral setting rather than one of your own or one from your own school. Creating a video club for a small group of teachers using existing classroom footage for collective reflection can lower the bar of entry and encourage reflective practice in a non-threatening, non-judgemental environment. This is a great stepping stone to build teachers’ confidence to reflect either privately or collectively reflect on their own practice.
4. Identify a ‘pathfinder’ group of teachers. Find those who are keen and trial the technology with a specific professional learning objective, then feedback successes to the rest of the staff. This will help iron out any challenges before it’s rolled out further.
5. Set norms for professional discussion around video. For video to be successful there must be respect for all involved including any teachers and pupils who feature in the video. Embrace differences of opinion; focus on the teaching not the teacher, the learning rather than the learners.
6. Establish professional learning communities. Schools tend to be hierarchical but for project teams to be most effective, established hierarchies might need to be left at the door. The most suitable project lead is not necessarily the most senior. Whoever leads, they need to have the time capacity to do so and the full support of SLT. Look at existing groups, for example triads, departments or film club groups that have shared educational goals, and see how video can save time for these groups and make their work more effective.
7. Build in support mechanisms. Ensure a support process is in place when challenges occur, whether that is your IT technician or your SLT. Who can your teachers go to for help with the technology?
8. Make sure you have time. Adopting this new form of CPD will take time before it is fully embedded in your way of working and the schools as a whole. Make sure you and your colleagues are given the time and full support of your SLT.
Video is a powerful professional learning tool but to have a real impact, as much attention must be given to change management as well as the technology you’re investing in.
IRIS Connect Film Club – free to access whether you use IRIS Connect or not.
Creating the right culture for CPD (TDT for SecEd article, February 2016)
Download from IRIS Connect: A practical guide to change management: creating a positive culture for school improvement