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Ensuring Safe and High-Quality Feedback to Candidates with Video Observation

This is the second article in a two-part series. Read the first part, titled “Video Observation Improves Teacher Preparation and Enhances Collaboration.” Authors Caroline Forrest and Cori Woytek will be presenting a live Q&A session at the 2021 Annual Meeting, “Using Video Across Diverse Settings to Provide Meaningful Feedback & Facilitate Reflective Conversations,” Thursday, February 25, 1:30 – 2:30 pm.

Caroline Forrest

Caroline Forrest

Cori Woytek

Cori Woytek

Many teacher preparation programs have faced unprecedented challenges this past year because of COVID-19. Schools have moved to online instruction and in-person support of student teachers has become difficult, if not impossible.

In response to the crisis, many institutions have incorporated videoed observations and feedback as part of their programs—a move that our teacher education program here at Western Colorado University took four years ago prior to the pandemic.

Fortunately, having a video feedback structure in place has enabled us to continue to support our residents – and continue to provide them with effective, rich, and applicable feedback – during this time.

Adapting Supervision Models During COVID with Video Observation

Typically our residents receive coaching from qualified mentor teachers, as well as regional coordinators. Each regional coordinator is an experienced educator who is traditionally the on-the-ground support.  In most instances they live in or near the communities in which residents teach and observe and assist them with their field experiences and collaborative relationships with mentors.

With the pandemic, schools have attempted to safeguard the health of their teachers, staff, and students by closing their doors to visitors. This has, of course, presented an obstacle to all IHE teacher preparation programs, including ours as our regional coordinators can no longer visit many schools and conduct formal observations.

Luckily, however, we were able to overcome this obstacle by only making a small adjustment to our program by having regional coordinators utilize the Edthena video coaching platform for their observations.  While this step was taken in response to the pandemic crisis, there has been an unexpected silver lining.

Unexpected benefits: More Time for More Feedback to Residents

A three-way conversation between the resident, regional coordinator, and clinical coach within Edthena.

A three-way conversation between the resident, regional coordinator, and clinical coach within Edthena.

Recently, in a Zoom Check-in Meeting convened with our Regional Coordinators to allow all to share their successes and challenges, our team highlighted an unexpected benefit of video observation and video feedback.  Although seeing a lesson in person is preferred, using Edthena provided the opportunities for more thoughtful, precise and targeted feedback.

Our regional coordinators noticed their feedback for in-person formal observations was often rushed, as they had little time to thoughtfully consider the lesson.  Using the video platform has given them the opportunity to view and review a resident’s teaching and provide feedback that will best benefit the resident.

The three-way conversation between the resident, regional coordinator, and clinical coach that has resulted from this adaptation is an additional positive outcome.

Video evidence has also been used during post-observation discussions among residents, regional coordinators, and mentors to highlight strengths and challenges of a given lesson.  All stakeholders can view a moment in a lesson and discuss implications.  It is a great way to begin a coaching conversation.

Video Observation after COVID

Moving forward, in a post-COVID world, we hope to revise our structure where regional coordinators observe face-to-face, but also utilize video coaching to offer feedback and to facilitate post-observation conversations.

Using video has transformed our program and continues to provide unexpected opportunities. It has a place in teacher preparation programs, both now and beyond the COVID crisis.

Caroline Forrest is clinical coach and lecturer of education, and Cori Woytek  is lead clinical coach and lecturer of education at Western Colorado University. 


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