As leaders, supporting teachers to become the practitioners that they aspire to be is one of the core purposes of what we do. Ensuring that the teacher gets their delivery pitch perfect is critical so that the children are engaged, enthused and hooked from the word go!
Even with the increasing focus from Ofsted on progress over time, meaning books and data seem to be of greater significance, that unique bond between teacher and pupil is where the real magic happens.
Teachers, can understandably feel pressure when being observed and equally ‘telling’ someone how to improve is not the same as them seeing it for themselves. In essence ‘Knowledge does not change behaviour’. Reflective practice – whereby the teacher is able to sit down and self evaluate a pre-recorded lesson of their teaching is a far more impactful and effective way of breaking down those barriers and bringing about rapid and sustained improvements.
As a school we’ve been using two incredible resources – one a product called ‘Swivl’ and the other ‘TrilbyTV’.
Swivl is a unique product that enables you to place your iPad into a rotating dock. The teacher places a dongle around their neck which allows the dock to move and track their movements around the room – this is done both horizontally and vertically, so is great with KS1 to see how lessons progress from the carpet to work tables. It’s best to use the product in your lessons a couple of times prior to you actually filming a lesson. Just so that it becomes ‘invisible’ and the children aren’t too distracted by it!
Prior to the lessons we ask teachers to fill in a self reflection sheet – essentially to say where they think their practice is. Then they record the lesson. The footage is stored within the ‘Swivl’ app but is easily downloadable to your camera role.
The footage can then be watched in pairs or threes and the lesson properly evaluated. As the teacher can see and hear themselves, in addition to how the children react to their delivery, a healthy professional dialogue can be had and everyone is seeing things together and from the same perspective.
Once teachers have reflected upon their own practice, it is critical to celebrate success but also to share good practice! TrilbyTV is the UK’s number 1 digital signage solution. In a few simple steps, rich and relevant content can be displayed on your screens around the school. We use this solution to showcase ‘outstanding teaching’ footage on the screens in our staffroom. This means when teachers are in the staffroom they are still being drip fed continuing professional development in order to improve their own practice.
This example of staff development may seem daunting, but both Swivl and Trilby have developed solutions that are incredibly teacher friendly, reliable and more importantly non-threatening ways of bringing about the incremental improvements in teachers’ practice that are critical to the children achieving the level of success that they all rightfully deserve.