BSCS has developed and used high quality video resources in our transformative professional learning programs for decades. We want to help get you started with these well-tested recommendations about norms and tools for video analysis.
Our clips our short – 3 to 10 minutes – so discussion can be focused. We’ve found video analysis to be most powerful when teachers analyze a clip and discuss their thinking with teaching peers. These videos are intended to spur great conversations as teachers analyze aspects of instruction and focus on the ideas students hold about science concepts in the classroom.
Deep teacher learning can happen when teachers have an opportunity to
focus on student ideas and ways of sense-making
identify the strategies used by the teacher in the video and their impact on
student engagement and motivation
equitable access for all learners
consider the in-the moment decisions made by the teacher and alternative teacher moves, questions, or strategies that might improve student learning
reflect on their own teaching in relation to the issues and challenges emerging from their analysis and discussion
Norms for Video Analysis
Norms for video analysis support rich and rigorous conversation and avoid focusing on unimportant details or teacher mannerisms. Here is an example of norms we’ve use with teachers.
Norms for Video Viewing:
Avoid focusing on the trivial: the little things that “bug” you.
Avoid the “this doesn’t look like my classroom” trap.
Avoid making snap judgments about the methods employed.
Norms for Video Analysis:
Focus on student thinking and key teaching moves.
Look for evidence to support any claims. (look more than once)
Consider alternative explanations and teaching strategies.
Using a Transcript During Video Analysis
The transcripts provided with many of our video clips can help clarify what is said by students or the teacher in the classroom.
But that isn’t the only reason we provide transcripts. Analysis of classroom video without using transcripts can lead to shallow discussion of generalities or impressions about what was happening in the clip. Great discussions analyzing video come from being able to identify key moments in the clip and focusing specifically on what the teacher or students have said. That is difficult to do after watching a clip just once or without the transcript to use for reference points in clip.
Here’s some suggestions:
Take a few moments to read the context at the top of the transcript. This will enrich your video analysis.
After watching the video, read the transcript and make note of the points where you identify key teaching moments or interesting student thinking.
During discussion, refer to timestamps in the transcript so everyone in the group understands what is being discussed and can be focused in their analysis.
Allow teachers time to identify and discuss these key teaching moments and negotiate their own understanding of the importance of the teaching episode, even making a claim about the teaching and learning supported by evidence from the transcript.
Establishing a Protocol for Video Analysis
Analyzing video for improving teaching practice is a skill – one that can be difficult to learn without clear guidance. We have found it helpful to use specific protocols that focus discussion and help teachers develop habits of analysis and reflection.
First, always have a purpose for watching the video.
Is your group hoping to better understand what NGSS-aligned instruction look like in real classrooms?
Do you want to work on specific aspects of instruction such as asking better questions or having more focused lessons?
Are you hoping to make your classroom more student-centered by listening and being responsive to student ideas?
There are lots of purposes for video analysis, and just as many ways to go about it. Here’s an approach we recommend:
Identify the purpose before watching the video to give viewers a purpose as they watch.
Have each person in the group identify key instances of instruction or student thinking at specific timestamps in the transcript that can become the focus of discussion and analysis. Provide opportunities to share these instances and talk about the reasons why any specific instance might be important in the context of the purpose you established for watching.
Analyze the clip by having each viewer turn an observation they made about the clip into a claim about the teaching or the student thinking revealed. Teachers then support the claim with evidence from the transcript. In their discussion they share their reasoning about how this teaching episode challenged their understanding of effective instruction.
Reflect and apply to your own teaching context.
Looking for more support in teacher learning or video analysis?