We think one of the best ways to inspire teachers to change their classroom practices is to observe other classrooms. There is something powerful about watching another teacher teach real lessons with real students. You can’t help but put yourself in the situation. How would you launch the lesson? What questions would you ask the students? What would you do when the little boy in the back row gets confused? These reflections are the foundation for inspiring change.
So how can teachers observe classrooms? Live observations, while valuable, require leaving your classroom and finding teachers willing to let you in. During our work with schools across the country, we’ve found hundreds of teachers willing to open their classrooms to our video team. These are real teachers teaching real students. Our video production team recorded actual classroom lessons, focusing on both the instruction and the student interaction. These lessons were edited into 15-20 minute segments that remove some of the transition time (like passing out assignments or getting into groups) without removing any of the important instruction. The end result is a series of classroom clips that show full lessons, from introduction to conclusion, in segments short enough for a teacher to view in 20 minute sessions.
These video lessons are a core component of our professional development services. Teachers change their instruction when they can see other classrooms, talk with their colleagues using common language, apply their observations to their classrooms and reflect on their practices. Our consultation services, Powerful Teaching and Learning Facilitator’s Guide and STAR Online service give teachers the opportunity to do just that.
Throughout the next few months we will be releasing samples of all our lessons so you can get an idea of the power of observing other classrooms. The first four clips are linked throughout this post. The full lessons are available for purchase in conjunction with the Powerful Teaching and Learning Facilitator’s Guide. They are also available as a part of STAR Online.
We want to thank the teachers and students who have shared their classrooms with us. Their courage has already helped to inspire thousands of teachers to develop practices that help all students learn. We hope to inspire you as well!
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