In Stage 1, Aaron, Asim, Katie, and many other educators shared the importance of collaborating with colleagues to reflect on and apply lessons from PD Video. In Stage 2, Elaine, Jessica, and Rachel shared ideas to use video to improve collaboration with colleagues. Check out how they're bringing these ideas to life to transform collaborative PD.
- Video recording equipment
- Video editing software (e.g. Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, YouTube Video Editor)
- Digital repository to house videos and lesson plans (i.e. Dropbox or Google folders)
- Minimum of one teacher and one coach willing to collaborate on video
- Time set aside for collaboration and coaching
- A network or community is available to help refine solutions after seeing them in action
- Teacher with a problem surrounding student learning
- Coaches are willing and able to provide the support needed
- Trust is a must
- Teacher is willing to implement the solution in the classroom on video
Problem Statement & Description
“If you provide teachers with what they need to be successful and innovative, they will follow suit.” - Shelia Banks.
Educators look for ways to improve their practice every day, but imagine a system in which there is consistent support - through collaboration - to help teachers solve tough problems they face in their classrooms everyday.
Innovator Shelia Banks envisions a network of colleagues that create a safe space for teachers to be vulnerable and transparent about problems they are facing in the classroom. In her role as a Curriculum Program Specialist, Banks has witnessed how teachers can sometimes feel alone, isolated - even not good enough when they come upon a problem that exhausts their individual “teacher toolbox.” Banks wants all educators to really recognize that there is no such thing as a perfect classroom and that teaching and learning requires continuous refinement.
To test her idea, Banks created this recipe for “The Teacher Feature Network” - a new problem-solving venue that provides an opportunity for teachers to explore strategies and to learn from one another.
Teacher identifies a problem of practice elicits support from an instructional coach or specialist. Banks first presented the opportunity for teachers to participate in the Teacher Feature Network (TFN) during a professional development session. One interested teacher, Dave Cash, contacted Banks via email with a statement of his problem: students were not reading deeply to identify important details and make inferences from the text. Later, Cash clarified his problem on video and asked Banks for help to address the issue.
Teacher and coach collaborate to devise a solution to the instructional problem through a detailed lesson plan that contains strategies novel to that classroom. The first collaborative solutions that emerged involved the students answering questions about the assigned text independently in preparation for a discussion. The duo also developed “signposts” for reading historical texts that were displayed in the classroom that could be used as focal points for reading or for discussion. Banks provided feedback on the draft lesson plan, recommended resources, offered suggestions for improvement, and provided the support necessary for Cash to be confident and competent when delivering the lesson.
Teacher implements the lesson. Remember, the purpose of this lesson is to solve the problem identified at the beginning of the process. To this end, the delivery of the lesson should be recorded.
Crowdsource valuable feedback through a professional network. The teacher’s video is placed in the network community and additional coaches and teachers may offer advice for refining the lesson - PLC style.
Refine the process, as needed. The teacher implements refined solution and records a second reflection detailing the refinements and explaining how they improved the lesson.
Protips for Practical Problem Solving
In her test, Banks found that many teachers were hesitant to participate until they were able to witness their colleague’s success. She doesn’t blame teachers for being skeptical, as the Teacher Feature Network may appear evaluative on its face. Banks believes that the success of the first trial, coupled with the positive reaction of the students, will be a major factor in recruiting teachers to participate in the Teacher Feature Network in the future. Banks also recognized that the process she outlined is a much greater time investment than she first anticipated. She believes that the key to success is to let go of any rigidity around the time frame and focus on the process. One suggestion to make the time commitment more manageable is to stay focused on the problem identified by the teacher, rather than trying to solve every issue in the classroom.
"Don't rush the process- take the necessary time needed to do this well." - Shelia Banks.