Video killed the radio star…but it may bring your work back to life!

In the past, using video for reflection and feedback was difficult or even impossible. Equipment was expensive and less than portable. Video clips could only be shared between people using similar medium. Much like videos on MTV, these concerns are a thing of the past.

The time is now to harness the power of video in teaching and instructional coaching.

The Power of Video

Athletes from little league to the major leagues view video to analyze performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, and generate next steps for their practice. The purpose is not to criticize and belittle, but to be better in time for the next game. Teachers, coaches, and administrators can also utilize video, both for private reflection and collaborative feedback.

There is no need for special equipment, any smartphone or tablet will do. But before you view, remember these points:

When using video for self-reflection

  • You are your own harshest critic. Be kind. The temptation will be there to pick out every error. Perfect instruction does not exist. Look for what's next, not what's wrong.
  • One handy rule is to look for two stars and a wish. Force yourself to write down two positives (stars) for every area of concern (a wish).
  • Regardless of your first result, repeat the process. By engaging in honest feedback, you will see learning and growth over time.

When using video for giving feedback to others

  • Collaborate based on a framework, rather than living in the realm of generic comments. Using a framework focuses your work and allows you to identify next steps. (Ed. note: TeachBoost can help!)
  • Focus on one or two small chunks of time: The beginning and end of class, a short exchange of discourse, or a student explanation.
  • Feedback must be built upon a strong relationship and working agreements.
  • Like any coaching or supervision agreements, the boundaries of confidentiality must be set before the work can begin: Who can told about your work? What level of detail can be shared?

Above all, whether using video for reflection or for feedback, think of the coach watching game film with the team. Whether you are serving as your own coach, working in a coaching partnership, or you’re an administrator supervising a teacher, remember the words of football coach Ara Parasheghian: “A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are.”


About our guest blogger

Eric Sandberg is an instructional coach with Erie’s Public Schools in Pennsylvania, and the owner and author of His blog is wonderful, and we’re big fans of the way he uses song titles in his posts. Connect with Eric on twitter at @ecsandberg11.