Video-Based Coaching transfers skills to classroom

Feb 18, 2015

By Sue Reeves

Screen-shot of video-based coaching.
A screen-shot of an actual video-based coaching session. Feedback from the observer is displayed on the right side of the split-screen. (Bad lighting in the classroom, shown on the left side of the screen, was mentioned). 

About 75 educators across the state of Utah have participated in Video-Based Coaching instruction offered by the Utah Professional Development Network since July, said Dave Forbush, associate director of the Center for Technical Assistance for Excellence in Special Education (TAESE). UPDN is a project of TAESE, part of Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities.

The four-session live online course on Video-Based Coaching will be offered one more time this year, Forbush said, beginning on Feb. 24. Participants collaborate in an effective instructional coaching relationship to improve student learning in the classroom, supported by assignments during and outside of the online sessions.

The focus of the course is to analyze a teacher’s classroom teaching and useful feedback, Forbush said. Video cameras are mounted to a Swivl base, which then allows the camera to follow the teacher as he or she moves around the classroom. Videos are uploaded to, where reviewers can leave typed or recorded comments that are time-stamped, so teachers can see exactly what is being critiqued.

The course is based on the book “Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction” by Jim Knight. All participants receive a free copy.

UPDN began operations on July 1, 2014 and has offered two VBC courses since then.

“It’s been going just gangbusters since then,” Forbush said.  “People are really excited about it.”

The structure of the course is outcome-driven, said John Jeon, TAESE learning scientist and senior instructional designer. 

“How do you enlist others in Video-Based Coaching?” Jeon said. “We explain the technology, we focus on how to analyze classroom behavior and how to provide feedback. We also use an inter-observer agreement, where we define a teaching behavior and see if we can find a measurement that works.”

Forbush said there are four types of coaching: traditional face-to-face, digital teacher and coach, digital instructional “rounds,” and digital “selfies.” Using Video-Based Coaching is empowering.

“When somebody observes you if you’ve been teaching there is no permanent product to look at,” he said. “If you’re watching a video, you’re both seeing the same thing. It empowers teachers in a way that traditional coaching can’t.”

It is also much more effective than simply presenting instruction to teachers, Forbush said.

“When all you’re doing is training someone, it doesn’t mean it transfers to the classroom,” he said. “If you don’t use coaching, the likelihood of transfer to the classroom is very low. If we can’t get coaching in, we just won’t get very far.”

In addition to the Video-Based Coaching instruction, UPDN has helped VBC participants to organize a Virtual Community of Practice, where they can share best practices and a coaching framework.

“We’re setting them up for a long-term, thriving organization for the people we train,” said John Jeon, “We didn’t want to do a training and then just let them go.”

The group has elected a chair, organized topics and a schedule, and has begun to meet regularly via Adobe Connect.


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