Last week whilst catching up with a close friend of mine the question was posed “How have you become such an innovative educator?” This question took me by surprise, he is a well-known lawyer known for his ability in court to be incredibly pioneering and he was asking me for advice!
After taking the time to think about this I believe I found my answer. For me I feel that the key driver behind the innovative practices in my classroom was reflection. Looking at what I had previously done, analyzing this, making some minor adjustments and then trying it again.
This is something that in my previous career as a Gymnastic Coach I would always do with my athletes but until that moment I hadn’t made the connection to innovation.
An example form of my reflective processes was in the past I would write down how I felt a lesson went, what went well, areas that needed to change and how students interacted. For many years this worked; however, it didn’t give me much traction. So at the beginning of 2014 in one of our staff PD sessions I was introduced by Bill Gates to the concept of “Video Analysis in Education”. Again this was something that as a coach I would use almost every training session; however, I had never considered bringing it into the classroom.
Now once a month I place a small camera at the back of my room and record about 30 minutes of a lesson. Each time I do this I choose a different KLA and focus area e.g. student behavior and engagement, lesson introduction, lesson conclusion, lesson individualization and differentiation and group work. I then upload a small snapshot of this to youtube so both my teaching mentors and I can give me feedback. Making that small minor adjustment to improve my teaching practice. It is simple, easy and effective as you can see you as a practitioner and you students interact with the content you are delivering.