Story From The Field

Empowering Educators: The Teacher Feature Network

Create an environment that encourages collaboration and risk-taking for student results.

How To Guide

Empowering Educators: The Teacher Feature Network

Implemented by
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Shelia B

Based on Ideas by

Shelia B, Tonya W

Inspired by the Experiences of

Ernie R

Create an environment that encourages collaboration and risk-taking for student results

What You'll Need

Effort Hours Days Weeks Months

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).

How To


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. The recording of the lesson should include a summary of the initial problem, the experimental steps taken to solve the problem, the teaching and learning that occurs in the classroom, a teacher reflection, and reflections from at least three students. The class should be recorded for a minimum of one full period. For Banks’ test, the teacher selected the date and time that the lesson would be delivered and recorded. This step was modified. Since there were only 8 students in this class (AP US History), reflections of individual students were not captured on film. Instead, Banks had the opportunity to speak openly with students about their experience. This was a very casual conversation and students were honest about their experience. Students liked having the additional guidance and, although they felt like better readers, they still needed their teacher to point out the most important facts. The students expressed a genuine desire to listen to their teacher speak about history and an appreciation for the teacher’s vast knowledge. The teacher’s reflection was recorded. The teacher appreciated the added structure but felt that the students still weren't identifying details like they should.


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. Include one colleague and an additional classroom observation. “I placed the videos in a Google Folder. My colleague watched the videos with me and returned to the class with me for another observation. I met with the teacher again and offered suggestions for improvement.”


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. Cash implemented refined strategies and, upon reflection, decided that the strategies were making an impact. It is important that the teacher feels valued and empowered during this entire process. Banks’ most powerful measure of success in this trial has been the fact that the teacher who volunteered to pilot this process truly feels valued and often welcomes her back into his classroom. “He said that this was the first time someone cared enough to talk about improving his class without penalty...His students even come up to me when I am on campus and thank me for helping. That is a great feeling!” ~ Shelia Banks


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