As we all become experts on using video as communication tool during the COVID pandemic, it is crucial to embrace the power of video as a tool for learning as well. Continuing ICG’s series of free webinars based on key concepts from our books and workshops, today’s post will walk through Ann Hoffman’s webinar on Video & Learning, based on concepts from Jim Knight’s Focus on Teaching.
When considering how video can assist in learning, there are three main questions to consider:
- What is the power of video?
- Why don’t people love it?
- What are the conditions for success?
What Is the Power of Video?
Video is part of our lives. It’s all around us constantly. We’ve all watched a YouTube video on how to do something or to learn a new concept. It’s useful and empowering, and the benefits are often revelatory. After Jim Knight trained a group of coaches for over three years, he asked them if they were to create their own coaching program, what would the most important thing would be for people to learn. The consensus was that watching themselves on video is essential. The coaches all saw their own points for improvement immediately when watching video of themselves. It provides an essential, objective perspective that would be impossible without video.
Why Don’t People Love It?
It’s hard to look at ourselves on video and see reality. We always look and sound different than we think we do, and our faults become impossible to ignore. This is because we don’t have a clear, objective picture of reality. People don’t know what it looks like when they do their work.
“We don’t see things the way they are; we see things the way we are.”
– Anais Nin
Why is it so difficult to clearly see our own reality?
- Confirmation Bias – We seek out data that confirms our own beliefs.
- Habituation – We become desensitized, and certain behaviors become normal. What we could not possibly have missed before becomes invisible the more often it happens.
- Primacy & Regency – We tend to remember what happens at the beginning and at the end more than what happens in the middle.
- Stereotypes – We see reality through our biases and stereotypes, our upbringings, and what we believe in.
- Complexity of Teaching – Teachers make 500-1500 decisions a day! It can be difficult to see objective reality while juggling so much: watching the clock, dealing with behavior, pacing instructions, differentiating, etc.
- Identity – When we watch ourselves, it impacts our identity. We think of ourselves as competent professionals, but when we watch video of ourselves, we can plainly see all of our shortcomings.
Video can cut through these factors and show a true picture of what is happening. Using video in the past has been impractical and inefficient, but we now have tons of accessible, easy-to-use technology to help us move from a culture of talk to a culture of action.
Creating the Conditions for Success
- Establish trust
- Character – Do I have their best interests at heart?
- Reliability – Can they count on you?
- Competence – Do you have the stuff to back up your words?
- Warmth – Are you present, vulnerable, and kind?
- Stewardship – Do you put their needs ahead of your own?
- Make participation a choice, not a mandate
- If you insist, people will resist. Choice is a huge predictor of engagement.
- Focus on intrinsic motivation and safety
- High accountability and high psychological safety encourage risk-taking and less judgment. People feel free to grow and see learning opportunities instead of failures.
- Establish boundaries
- Focus on data and be non-judgmental.
- Respect the complex nature of teaching.
- Be positive, respectful, and supportive.
- Offer suggestions only after being asked.
- Video is not a “gotcha.” It is a departure point for dialogue.
- Video recordings are the property of the teacher.
- Walk the talk
- If we are going to ask teacher to be vulnerable and use video, coaches should lead the way and go first.
- Go slow to go fast
- This work takes time and is emotionally sensitive, so don’t expect everyone to jump onboard right away.
Video for Teachers, Coaches, Administrators, and Teams
Different groups can use video in unique ways to learn. Using forms like those above, teachers, coaches, administrators, and teams can find new ways to optimize their use of video. For other helpful forms and resources, check out the Book Enrichment Tools section of ICG’s website.
By watching footage of themselves multiple times, teachers can select focus areas, set goals for improvement, and monitor progress. Coaches can increase trust through vulnerability , develop shared understanding of issues and goals, and maintain a partnership approach instead of a top-down approach. Teams of coaches or teachers can improve their practice, and administrators can use video as an objective reference point to work with coaches and teachers to set and meet common goals.
While we can monitor reality through student interviews, student work, and observations, video is the most impactful way to see an accurate picture of reality. It removes any observer bias and enables us to observe and collect data that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Though we may all be feeling screen fatigue during the pandemic, now is as crucial a time as ever to remember the capacity of video as a learning tool.
Watch the complete webinar and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.