Publication details

Video clubs: How do teachers experience them and what can it teach us?



Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description Isolation is a feature of teachers’ classroom performance. Teachers, while “in action”, are isolated most of the time from their colleagues, and might thus find it stressful when another professional enters this space to observe their work, be it for the sake of evaluation or professional development. Studies on professional development programmes, however, suggest that teachers benefit from analysing video recordings of their own classes, not only when they analyse them themselves, but also when analysing them in group settings. This brings two potential sources of discomfort for the participants – having their lesson videotaped and sharing this record of their work with peers, thus breaking the aforementioned isolation. What is more, when discussing video recordings of their peers’ lessons, they are forced to navigate carefully in a very complex social setting. Video clubs (Sherin & van Es, 2009; collaborative analysis of classroom videos) are a well-established form of professional development that has been shown to develop teachers’ professional vision as well as influence their classroom actions. It has also been shown that the discussions in video clubs are not as straightforward as it would seem and that they are influenced by the power relations and the “politics” within the group. In our project, we worked with practising teachers of English as foreign language that met regularly in video clubs. Being aware of the specific nature of this professional development programme, we sought to understand how the teachers experienced the meetings and the group dynamics. There were altogether 11 participants in three groups that met five times during one year. One of the groups was formed by colleagues from one school; the participants in the other groups had not known each other. The data was collected using three methods: email feedback from teachers after each session (structured), video recording of the last video club meeting in which the programme was reflected on, and audio recordings of interviews with individual participants at the very end of the programme (semi-structured). Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The results suggest that the teachers viewed the programme rather positively, with their experience improving significantly over time. This was especially important in the groups that had not known each other, as it was often highlighted that the atmosphere became more and more open and that the participants would appreciate the programme being longer, as only towards its end did they feel they can say everything. Providing and receiving feedback was an important issue for the teachers, illustrating the fact that not all what is noticed by the teachers is also discussed. Interestingly enough, teachers in both groups were happy with the setting (colleagues/strangers), providing arguments for why they would not choose the other option. Further details will be discussed during the presentation, together with the implications for the organization of professional development programmes.
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