Our last blog post discussed ways that teachers could take charge of their CPD and make it more relevant and effective. One of the suggestions was to use lesson observations to do so. This blog expands on the idea and suggests 5 ways that video observation can help improve CPD by providing actual evidence of what really happens in a classroom.

1. Filming lessons in pairs

The Sutton Trust’s 2015 publication ‘Developing teachers; improving professional development’ includes a number of case studies off effective use of video. The first, from Wallscourt Farm Academy in Bristol involved lessons being filmed and viewed in pairs with colleagues so that each can learn from the other. The report said that:

“Observations and the resulting discussions are seen as a way of teachers supporting research into effective teaching.”

2. Sharing best practice in subject areas

Another case study from the Sutton Trust report was on Huntingdon School in York. The school offers 2 hours of continuing professional development every fortnight in addition to the five training days.teacher training

In the 19 two-hour sessions, teachers start off by watching and debating examples of practice on video.

They then work in subject areas, focusing on the two or three departmental development priorities, one of which is chosen by individual members of the department as a performance management objective. Each teacher’s personal development is charted in a journal in which they record how they are working on their teaching.

3. Creating a bank of good practice evidence

Schools can collect video evidence over time to share with new staff (for example to explain the routines of a school); as part of CPD discussions within teams or departments; or even as evidence of change for inspections. At Aston University Engineering Academy, teachers often pass on positive clips of lessons to senior managers to show how they have successfully delivered new ideas or engaged classes.

4. Personal reflection

CPD doesn’t have to involve other people – and simply videoing and observing your own lessons can lead to professional growth.

To make this even more effective in our partner schools, our Teacher Development Lead Dr Sean Warren remotely coaches colleagues to build their capacity and confidence to review their own footage.

5. Coaching from experts

Video footage isn’t just useful within schools – it can be shared widely (as long as the right protocols are followed and permissions obtained). This might mean sharing footage with initial teacher training mentors in universities or teaching schools; with experts in areas such as SEN or behaviour within a trust; or with specialist coaches such as Dr Warren.

If you’d like to explore the potential of 360-degree video observation for enhanced and personal CPD, please get in touch, click here.