Watching Classroom Video Productively, Part 2
By Meg S. Bates, posted March 13, 2017
In a previous blog post, I discussed suggestions for how
teachers can get the most out of watching classroom videos. One of those tips was
to focus on student thinking rather than on teaching. This teacher move is
supported by research that shows that effective professional development
focuses on student thinking about mathematics (Kennedy 1998; Sherin and van Es
2009). But what does focusing on student thinking really mean?
opinion, focusing on student thinking has two parts:
part of this might be thought of as diagnosis
of student thinking and the second part as planning
an instructional response to student thinking. Or some might discuss the
whole process as one of rich formative assessment.
on student thinking while watching videos can help teachers get better at
responding nimbly to student thinking in practice. Much like football players
watch films so that they can slow down the tape and think through what they
would do differently in a game situation, teachers can pause a video, reflect
on the student’s understanding, and think about instructional moves they would
make in a similar real-life situation. Over time, this thinking translates to
When watching videos, ask yourself about both
parts of this process and base your answers on evidence. Here are some good reflection
The biggest reason to focus on student thinking
is that it can help you plan your own practice, rather than focus on the
decisions that the teacher made in the video. This simple trick of focusing
your attention on student thinking can help you get much more out of video.
Focusing on student thinking while watching video
can be difficult. Which part of focusing on student thinking is harder for you:
diagnosing student thinking or planning instructional moves to respond
to student thinking? What questions might you add to the list above to help you
focus on that part? We want to hear from you! Post your comments below or share
your thoughts on Twitter @TCM_at_NCTM using #TCMtalk.
Mary. 1998. Form and Substance in Inservice
Teacher Education. Research monograph. Madison, WI: National Institute for
Science Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Miriam Gamoran, and Elizabeth van Es. 2009. “Effects of Video Club
Participation on Teachers’ Professional Vision.” Journal of Teacher Education 60 (1): 20–37.
Dr. Meg Bates, firstname.lastname@example.org, is
a curriculum developer and researcher at the University of Chicago. She is
interested in educational technology and novel forms of teacher professional