How to Make Better Teachers Part 2

Apr 23

Today I'm attending the Literacy unconference at York District. Autonomy of conversation and learning is the main principle of this type of event and one that honors the power and smartness of the room. I had lunch with some of these smart people. Heather shared something that I simply had to share. 

Part 1 discussed the importance of reflection and the power of blogging. During lunch we discussed why the topic of blogging wasn't listed among the sessions.

 

 

 

My question was more about what we meant by the word "blogging" which led to the focus on blogging as a reflective tool. Blogging, for those that have used it for a reflective tool, is invaluable as a professional and personal growth tool. Yet blogging is still largely about the ability to write. Writing isn't necessarily for everyone and yet with new affordances such as easy video and audio creation, we're not seeing many using these other means of sharing and reflection. 

Heather shared with me an idea that is by no means new but one that very few teachers use and if so, only use once or twice. Recording yourself. 

When I finish teaching or presenting, I immediately wonder how I've done. My perception is useful but it's never the same as when I watch myself on video. Like everyone, I hate watching myself and yet I can't tell how many times I've done so and end up learning something valuable about my presentation skills. Heather, a Kindergarten teacher, said she would record herself at least once a day, even for 10 minutes,  and reviewed it. As you can expect, she indeed turned herself into a better teacher. This isn't only about teacher at the front, direct instruction, but also the way the teacher interacts with students. 

Imagine if every teacher recorded themselves each day and watched it. Hmmmm. We want our students to be reflective and would love for them to document and describe their learning in detail. Why aren't we actively modeling this? Not just for the sake of modeling but because it makes us better. Imagine if a movie director or actor never watched their work? 

The idea of recording yourself is not a new idea but I'm not sure anyone is doing this beyond a single effort or two. I know Jim Knight has mentioned this technique and can likely cite some examples but this just seems like a no brainer. 

Have you ever recorded yourself? Tell me about it. 

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