Have you ever dreamed about being in front of a camera? Well, it's never too late! Jason Clark, Professional Development Coordinator for Oklahoma City Public Schools, highlights how his organization uses video to provide quick and targeted PD in an entertaining way. Action! 🎬
ave you ever attended a professional development conference, full of new and exciting strategies, but then experienced information overload? Or maybe you've attended a training session, only to find out it was a "sit and get" lecture with little time for processing and nothing that was immediately applicable?
Realizing that traditional PD delivery can often give too much information with too little time to put it into practice, our team listened to the coaches we trained to explore different ways to offer mini-PD opportunities.
The Coaching Minute
One of the techniques our ICs were regularly modeling in the classroom focused on teaching new information in bite-sized chunks. My team—comprised of both the trainers of coaches and ICs themselves—started to look into borrowing from this pedagogical strategy and adapting it to adult learners (andragogy).
We asked ourselves, "What if we offered only a small chunk of immediately applicable learning to our teachers at a time? Could this increase teachers' curiosity about the strategies offered and willingness to put them into practice?" This is how the Coaching Minute was born.
"While learning is challenging, perhaps even threatening, it is also essential. To live truly fulfilling lives, we need to be curious." —Jim Knight,
Escape from the Zero-Learning Zone
In the spirit of curiosity—and not presuming to know better than our fellow educators—we offered a district-wide survey to all teachers, administrators, and ICs in the district, asking about what topics they wanted us to target additional PD and learning opportunities too.
Once the results were in, our team divided topics into an affinity chart, narrowing topics down into several key areas. After we compiled the feedback, we developed a plan to provide instructional coaching, classroom teaching, mental health, and equity offerings.
Our team weighed which options would be best to create our "mini-PDs." At first, we considered blogging or a podcast but finally settled on mini-videos. We chose video because it provided a personal touch, as learners could put a face to the learning, and if the presenter wanted to show or demonstrate anything, they could do so easily.
When we started, we knew little to nothing about videography, with only our laptops as equipment. In fact, we taped the script onto the back of our laptops and propped them up with ink pens taped onto the computers to hold the paper straight! You don't need professional gear to get started, use what you have.
We called them our "minute" or "moment" series, as each video we record is roughly around a minute or two with applicable tips that teachers can take straight back to their classrooms.
These videos are added to our website, YouTube, and internal Facebook workplace—a private space for our district that teachers to watch and comment—plus newsletters that go out to over 50 coaches!
Here's one of our Minutes on teacher monitoring as an example:
Quickly learn from Diana Pryor, IC, all about "active monitoring." 📽️
The emails and Workplace comments from teachers and instructional coaches have been fantastic. We heard from educators who had tried some of the strategies offered and then opened wider discussions on ways they had tweaked them to fit their unique circumstances.
Finding professional development strategies that work can be a challenge for ICs. Ultimately, the Coaching Minute in our district encouraged teachers and coaches to collaborate on the learning and its applications, finding ways to take the learning that much deeper.
This new school year we hope to continue developing the "Minute" series, expanding the offering with a podcast and blog to help district teachers and coaches become the best they can be.
About our Guest Blogger
Jason Clark believes coaches can model powerful professional learning in innovative ways to inspire educators to deepen their craft. He has a deep love of innovative approaches to instructional coaching through the use of technology.