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July 20, 2010

Caught on Tape: Professional Development

Video_icon_full When I hear teachers describe how they wish they had more patience, I cringe. There’s something about the phrase that doesn’t feel right to me when coupled with our chosen profession. For years, I have tried to figure out what it is was and then, the other day  it occurred to me: Teaching in pre-k doesn’t require patience, it requires perspective.
In so many interactions, pre-k teachers must step back from a situation and and ask themselves, “What is really going on here?” This stepping-out-of-the-present moment needs to occur again and again, all day throughout the activities and interactions in a day. It is how you figure out what questioning strategy is the best way to push a child’s learning, it’s how you deduce who stole the truck from whom, and it’s how you to determine when it’s time to just put the book down and get up and wiggle for a while. If a teacher doesn’t have the ability to distance themselves from a situation, they don’t have the ability to make the best decision within that a particular moment in the classroom.
Not every teacher has the ability to step outside of themselves and reflect all of the time. This is why video can be such a powerful professional development tool in pre-k classrooms.Through watching oneself teach, educators are able to observe themselves and consider how they teach from outside of their immediate experience.

Using video enables teachers to really observe themselves and consider how they teach from outside of their experience. It can be a powerful professional development tool in pre-k classrooms because our interactions with students are both quick and constant. 

If you have never tried video taping yourself teaching, I highly recommend it. I learned more from the process than any other professional development activity in my entire career.

Image: http://www.thespacereport.org/store/


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