Helping Teachers See Themselves

July 14, 2015

The Best Foot Forward Project is featured in the following TNTP blog post about using virtual coaching for teacher feedback.

Most teachers want useful feedback on their instruction. Yet many feel they don’t get enough, or that the feedback they receive isn’t actionable. We’ve been piloting virtual coaching in over 200 schools and 30 districts to see if video and coaching from an expert outside the school can help teachers get more (and more meaningful) feedback. Some of the questions we’ve been asking are: How does it help a teacher develop to see herself on video? Can a virtual coach—someone a teacher has never met in person—guide the teacher through some specific changes to her practice? How can using video help focus the conversation on what students are learning?

As part of our pilot, we are working with the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard’s Best Foot Forward project, a study examining the impact of video technology on teachers’ classroom observations. Researchers recruited more than 400 teachers to participate; half were given cameras and submitted self-recorded videos to replace traditional drop-in observations. Teachers also chose which videos to submit to their observers, giving them more control than they generally have in traditional observation processes.

Researchers with Best Foot Forward report that teachers who received feedback on their videos were significantly less likely to disagree with their observers on their evaluation scoring and more likely to be able to describe a specific change in their practice resulting from their post-observation conference. At the end of the study, participating treatment teachers were 12 to 15 percentage points more supportive of video observations than their control group peers, according to project director Miriam Greenberg. Initial findings will be released this summer and a final paper will be available in December.


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