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How Video Classroom Observation Can Improve Teacher Effectiveness

Lynn Bagwan


Video recording of teachers is prompting a national debate about its use, both as a teaching tool and as a means to evaluate teacher effectiveness. A recent study on the use of video observation tools in the classroom prompted Microsoft founder Bill Gates and others to call for widespread use of this technology. One of the largest studies ever conducted on understanding what defines good teaching, the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project led by Harvard University, analyzed 20,000 lessons taught by 3,000 teachers from six school districts around the country, and had experts score their teaching effectiveness.

The results showed that digital video recordings can be more valuable than an observer’s notes for allowing a teacher to literally see the strengths and weaknesses in their teaching methods.

Allowing educators to reflect on their teaching methods by reviewing video observations enables them to optimize and improve their overall quality of teaching. Teacher evaluation via video-based observation tools provides an objective way for educators to quantify and qualify the effectiveness of teaching methods in schools. 

Teaching effectiveness is significantly improved when educators have established a positive culture of self-evaluation and professional development for teachers. Teaching staff will typically share best practices and ideas to support the development of teaching methods. During video classroom observation, it was evident that there was a strong correlation between how pupils responded to these collaborative strategies and how much they learned.


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