As part of the certification process to become teachers in New York State, my cohort and I will be completing the EdTPA. Robin and Sam both talked a bit about the EdTPA in recent posts (here and here, respectively). If you missed that, basically the EdTPA involves recording yourself teaching and analyzing your performance. I really dislike being filmed and judged, so I have been trying not to think about it.

It’s coming though. We have been talking about the EdTPA in class over the past couple of weeks, so the denial thing hasn’t really been working.  At the same time, Madeleine and I have begun our Mini-Unit in our student teaching placement. Madeleine led our class Thursday and Friday this past week (and totally rocked it!).

Now, I think it’s starting to click! See, in addition to talking in class about the practical aspect of filming, we have also been exploring the benefits of being reflective about your practice. After Madeleine led the Mini-Unit, we spent some time talking with our cooperating teacher and our supervisor so I got to experience the practice being reflective. My first attempts were all about us. How did the lesson flow? How did we manage materials? How did classroom management go?

Those things are important, sure, but there is so much more to it than that. A reflection that merely details the events that happened without any interpretation of why those events unfolded the way that they did misses some crucial information. The interpretation is what allows teachers to see the how their practice impacts student thinking. (Choppin, 2011).

I am finding that level of reflection is hard to do from memory. Those are not the details that are easy to recall when a lesson is over. I can recall what a student said, but not necessarily in enough detail to be able to understand the thinking behind that statement. Here is where the video comes in. Reviewing video afterwards allows us to see things we may not have noticed the first time. A collection of videos allows us to compare different approaches. Video allows us to share our practice with others who may see things that we don’t.

I can’t say that I have reached the point where I am excited about filming myself lead a lesson, but I am starting to see that the EdTPA is really just good teaching practice.

References

Choppin, J. (2011). The impact of professional noticing on teachers’ adaptations of challenging
tasks. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 13(3), 175-197.