Finding the Best Approximations of Practice in the Era of COVID-19: Video Analysis and FAVSTE

COVID-19 challenges all of us in teacher education to reimagine how to prepare our candidates for the complexity of teaching when they cannot be placed in authentic classroom contexts. Our responses to this challenge will likely require us to stretch the “approximations of practice” that Grossman et al. (2009) described. One strategy that might offer us a means for executing this stretch is video analysis. However, for video analysis to be a meaningful approximation of practice, teacher educators need both useful video case resources and the tools to support candidates’ exploration of these cases.

A group of science teacher educators from across the country has been using the ATLAS library as our main video case resource and the Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education (FAVSTE) as our tool for maximizing the learning from these cases. ATLAS has videos (generally 15 -20 minutes in duration) submitted by teachers applying for National Board certification, along with the commentary (Instructional Context, Planning, Analysis, Reflection) associated with the videos. This allows teacher candidates to both see the action occurring in actual classrooms and then read about the thinking of the teacher before and after the lesson that produced that action.

The FAVSTE is a holistic framework that describes what the [science] teacher educator should be considering before, during, and after a video analysis task. The figure below represents the FAVSTE. It has four components to it: two associated with the planning of a video analysis task, one focused on the facilitation of the task, and one describing the outcomes that will indicate the effectiveness of the task. For our purposes here, we want to briefly describe the facilitation component, which we label “Aspects of Noticing in Action” (as improving teacher candidates’ professional noticing capacity is one of the desired outcomes of the video tasks). There are six elements that make up this component: Events, Perspective, Stance, Grain Size, Chronos, and Beliefs. Each element has a continuum that we want to move candidates along as their analysis/noticing skills strengthen. For instance, for Stance, we want to see candidates move from an Evaluative to a Descriptive to an Analytical Stance over time. Usually, we focus on just a couple of the elements in each video task so that we can properly emphasize those elements and help our candidates improve their skills in relation to them. We coordinate tasks across our courses to support the entire set of six elements.

FAVSTE holistic framework

The science teacher educators who have used the FAVSTE have found our own ability to select cases, design and facilitate tasks, and assess the impact on our candidates has improved tremendously as a result of our development and use of the FAVSTE. And our group has found this effect across a range of contexts, from elementary through secondary methods courses, and with both undergraduate and graduate students. We would be glad to share more details about our work with anyone who finds value in the ideas in this blog.


Grossman, P., Compton, C., Igra, D., Ronfeldt, M., Shahan, E., & Williamson, P. (2009).

Teaching practice: A cross-professional perspective. Teachers college record, 111(9),


Tags: , , , , ,