Have you ever considering using a GoPro in your classroom?
With so much pressure on teachers to perform in observational environments, performances can drop due to the overriding nerves. With Ofsted, Estyn, Management and external companies coming into schools to observe teachers’ performance it can be difficult to be your best on the day that you get observed. Yet when the observation has taken place the level of feedback you get is, in most cases, quite appalling. I read an article in The Guardian about a teacher who went from an Outstanding to Inadequate within six weeks, yet with no feedback given he had absolutely no idea why! This can have a real depremental affect on your teaching – why do you think people give feedback if you’re not successful for a job role – if they didn’t (and when they don’t) you feel like an overall failure. At least when your failings are identified you can either a) go and work on those areas and improve or b) go to the pub and moan about how little that person knew and how wrong they were!
Let’s look at self assessment then. We all know that marking and feedback is one of the most important areas of teaching, yet the area that is probably most over looked. Strategies are often put into place for ‘effective’ marking and feedback by staff that haven’t been in the classroom for the best part of ten years. So why not improve your marking and feedback by beginning on yourself! That’s where the GoPro comes into place. Small, nimble, smart and unnoticeable, the GoPro could be the best addition to your classroom! Rather than waiting for someone else to come into your classroom to assess you, why don’t you start improving your teaching today by doing it yourself. If you were to set your GoPro up at the back of the class, or even ask a pupil to film for you, you could go pick a two minute teaching slot in the day and film yourself delivering, then later on in the day go over it and see where and how you would improve.
You could be looking at your own subject knowledge for example. Pick a two minute slot, film yourself teaching about the subject, watch it back later, and grade yourself. Did you communicate clear enough? Were your arms crossed the whole time? Did you leave enough time for your pupils to ask questions?
You’ll be amazed at how much you improve just by watching yourself. Look at any sport for example. The GoPro has arguably changed the way one assess performance, analysis movements and plays, pin points weaknesses and improve individuals skills. There is therefore absolutely no reason at all why a similar type of ‘video analysis’ can’t be used in the classroom.
The best thing is it doesn’t have to be GoPro – you could use your phone, the school’s camera, your 1980s video recorder – whatever you feel comfortable with. Better yet it can be done when you want. Say you have a class of underachieving boys, you could look at a way to raise their attainment through videoing yourself and identifying HOW you are not engaging with them. The potential for development is unlimited through self assessment, so why not give it a go in your next lesson and see how you get on…even if you pick up on just one thing, you have improved as a teacher!
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