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The Path To Better Teaching Starts with Objective Feedback

Emir Plicanic
Emir Plicanic

May 07, 2019

How well am I doing? What could I do to better inspire my students? Which areas of my teaching have the most potential for growth or improvement? No matter how long we've been in our professions, the need for improvement doesn’t go away. But where do we start?  

As it turns out, asking ourselves these questions is an important first step on the journey to professional betterment. Honest answers to these questions have the potential to intrinsically motivate us, which ultimately helps us make changes that lead to improvement.

Next Step: Take an Active Role in Continuous Development.

The best professional learning happens when we perceive ourselves as researchers, working to find answers to questions posed in our classrooms. But how we go about getting those answers is easier said than done. As researchers, we can’t just assume that we can accurately remember everything that needs to be addressed. Our brains are simply not equipped to recall small details with the precision needed to make adjustments. To do that, we have to be open to extrinsic motivators like objective feedback from peers, coaches, and supervisors.

Objective feedback adds clarity to what is often a foggy path toward improvement. It helps us figure out where we currently are in our practice, what changes we need to make, and ultimately steers us in the direction of professional growth that will have the most impact on our careers.  

Yet, having someone observe us and give us feedback often falls short. Being told what we’re doing “wrong” often puts us in a defensive mode that can be more hurtful than helpful. There’s also the issue of trust. It takes time to build trust in others’ ability to give the honest, unbiased feedback that’s needed. And finally, there’s an issue of time. Scheduling observation sessions on everyone’s already packed calendars is probably one of the biggest reasons why we don’t get enough objective feedback. This is where technology can help. Specifically, video technology.

Next Step: Use Video

Using video to discover where we are in our practice helps us on multiple levels:

  1. Video is objective. It captures facts and replays them for us without any filters.
  2. Shared video can be viewed on everyone’s own schedule.
  3. Video is the perfect performance discovery tool because, unlike people’s memory, video can be replayed and rewatched as often as needed without loss.
  4. Video creates a record of change.

What’s more, we can record videos whenever we need to, and in the privacy of our own classrooms. There’s no need to share any videos we’re not comfortable sharing. But when we’re ready for outside feedback, it’s easy to share the videos we feel best represent our practice.

After we’ve recorded and shared a few videos, we quickly realize that video on in its own is not efficient. Once recorded, we need to be able to quickly find important moments, attach comments to them, and easily share them for additional feedback. This is where software like Vosaic comes in.

Software like Vosaic makes the use of video for objective feedback far more efficient. With searchable video transcripts, the ability to mark important moments in their entirety (and add comments directly on those moments), allows us to stay focused on what needs to be addressed, instead of on our own imperfections that have zero impact on instruction.

Vosaic video player with feedback form and timeline
Vosaic video player with feedback form and timeline

Well designed software like Vosaic provides clear guidance on what to look for, what needs improvement, and what steps to take on our path to continued professional growth.

In Conclusion

Watching ourselves in a video is not easy. The harsh truth video delivers can be hard to process. But with the right tools, we can take an active role of our own professional learning and stay focused on practices that advance our careers, while making an impact on what matters the most—student achievement.


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Getting Started With Video Toolkit (PDF).

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Includes:

  • Sample Letter To School Leaders
  • Common Answers to Video Questions
  • Walkthrough Sample
  • Observation Sample
  • and more.
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