Over the course of 2020, a lot has changed in the world of teaching. Covid-19 forced teachers to leave classrooms and enter digital Zoom rooms instead.
Practically overnight, teachers and their coaches had to adapt their classroom skills to connect with their students online – and this is no small task!
Both teachers and coaches have learned a lot from ‘going online’. While this forced experiment was daunting at first, coaching teachers remotely is becoming the preferred option for some, especially while entry to classrooms is restricted.
Using new technology has created new opportunities for teachers to improve what they do. One of these being the ability to get more personalised support from coaches outside of their own school’s staff team.
VEO has been supporting coaches and teachers pre and post-pandemic, and we spoke to Regional Academic Coach at Imagine Andrews Public Charter School, Mark Connelly, about how VEO has allowed him to adapt his coaching conversations easily from face-to-face to online, and the benefits that have come with it.
How do you use VEO to help teachers grow?
Mark explained that traditionally he’d arrange to record the teacher’s lesson in person. He then uploads the video to VEO where he uses video tags to give feedback on the lesson.
Mark said, “I can go in with a camcorder or iPad and video a lesson, upload it to the VEO platform and the teachers know it’s a safe space. With that video being uploaded to VEO I can tag the video with specific feedback on great things they did, or specific areas of growth.”
He then shares the tagged video with the teacher, who can clearly see the feedback on specific moments in their lesson.
The teacher can then respond to the feedback and give their own opinions.
Mark continued, “Instead of just writing it down, when we have our coaching meetings I can show the teacher what I saw. It’s not just a surface conversation about what happened. We can ask the teachers why they took certain decisions and what changes they could make, or if there’s a reason they decided to do one thing over something else.”
This allows new teachers to:
- See exactly what they did well or could have improved on in the lesson
- Take their coaches feedback and improve what they do in their next lesson
- Respond to their coaches feedback and open up a two-way conversation
- Be more open to receiving and giving feedback
- Have much deeper coaching conversations
How has coaching changed since the start of the pandemic?
Mark told us that it was easy for him to start coaching teachers remotely, as a lot of the process was already digital thanks to VEO.
The only difference now is that teachers are delivering their lessons on Zoom. They record their Zoom lessons and upload them to VEO to share with their coach after.
Feedback is given in exactly the same way using the video tags in VEO, and the teachers can still implement the feedback as quickly.
Mark explained, “Most of the teachers I coach are brand new, first year teachers that we’re trying to help them grow as teachers and prepare them for the rest of their lives. Using a system like VEO allows us to show them areas of growth, be with them, and show them that we’re here to help them.”
This supports teachers to grow their online teaching abilities in the same way as they do in the classroom – with personalised, 1-2-1 support from their coach.
How have teachers responded to the ability to get support with zoom lessons?
In the US, coaches are often outside of the teachers’ direct team which can give them the confidence to ‘make mistakes’ – a hugely important part of the learning process.
Mark explained, “Coaches allow teachers to make mistakes which helps them to grow and get better at something. It allows them to ask more questions rather than simply getting evaluated. It allows the teachers to physically see what us, as coaches, are talking about when we give feedback.”
Zoom lessons are a new phenomenon so this ability to improve and grow faster than before is especially important in helping teachers hone their online teaching skills.
How does coaching teachers remotely also benefit coaches?
Mark told us that he uses it to improve his own abilities as a coach too. He records his digital coaching sessions with the teachers and gets feedback from his own mentor.
This sets a great example for the teachers he coaches and gets them to become more comfortable recording their own lessons.
Of course, the added benefit is that it helps him improve his own coaching ability.
There are several other benefits to taking coaching online too:
- Saves money on travel and other expenses involved in observing teachers in the classroom
- Creates a culture of continuous improvement as receiving and giving feedback becomes a normal part of delivering great lessons
Read more about how VEO facilities effective digital coaching.
And if you’d like to hear more from Mark, watch the full video of the chat he had with Nihad from our team…