6 Benefits of Student Teaching Videos for Observation

Here’s a question: is it possible to conduct all your observations through student teaching videos?

We had the chance to interview a teacher educator who’s experimented with video technology and discovered just how much student teaching videos have to offer.

Professor Glen Clark spent 11 years teaching in the Utah Valley University School of Education. With 30 years of teaching experience under his belt, Glen certainly knows how to help pre-service teachers run successful classrooms. But one particular challenge stood out to him far more than anything else: the observations.

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“As I observed student teachers,” said Glen, “I always felt uncomfortable with the cost, the large amount of time required for the professor to travel, and having only two student teaching observations. In my mind, all of these factors made observations less than effective. For years I was actively searching for a better and easier way to supervise these teachers.”

We’ve compiled an entire library of student teacher observation forms from all 50 states. Download a free copy.

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Eventually He Found One.

Glen started having student teachers film themselves in the classroom, first with camcorders then with COPPA compliant video software. By using student teaching videos, Glen uncovered six significant benefits any teacher education program could enjoy by using this method:

1. Saved Money

Travel expenses are a normal burden of teaching programs, especially when pre-service teachers are scattered across multiple school districts or teaching out of state. But Glen’s student teaching videos immediately eliminated travel costs for observations. He viewed footage of his student teachers in the cloud and submitted feedback right in the video software. Suddenly there was no longer a need to pay for flights, room and board, and gas to give his students awesome support. This saved thousands of dollars instantly.

2. Saved Time

Along with saved money, student teaching videos allowed Glen to save hours and sometimes days of travel. The videos also eliminated many of the scheduling issues supervisors often tackle. Glen was thrilled to be able to review the videos anytime, anywhere. He could focus more on giving quality feedback and less on the logistics of setting up observation times.

3. More Observations

In many programs there’s only time for two observations of a pre-service teacher. Glen was pleasantly surprised to find that student teaching videos allowed him to double and sometimes triple the number of observations he could do. That meant more practice, more feedback, and more support for the student teachers.

4. Customizable rubrics

Another unforeseen benefit of video feedback software was Glen’s ability to create rubrics. Glen filled out his rubric directly in the GoReact software as he watched the student teachers’ videos. And because the rubric was customizable, Glen could incorporate specific certification outcomes and his own personal preferences. In fact, he encourages all teacher educators to create a rubric that works for them. For inspiration on your own rubric, you can download our free library of classroom observation forms from all 50 states.

student teaching video

5. Opportunities to Reflect

Perhaps the best thing about student teaching videos is they can be watched and re-watched—even by the student teachers themselves. Glen says, “I found it most successful when I provided specific prompts of what student teachers should observe and self-assess in their videos.” This self-reflection allowed teachers to see for themselves what they really look like in front of a class. Many teachers chose to record themselves again and made immediate changes in the videos. Glen was also pleasantly surprised to find that student teachers are much less defensive about receiving feedback after they’ve watched the video themselves.

6. No Loss in Observation Quality

When he first tried student teaching videos, Glen admitted he was a touch skeptical if they would be as effective as a live observation. To test this out, he conducted an experiment by observing two students through video then following up with live observations to compare and contrast the two methods.

Glen’s conclusion? The accuracy and quality of the observation experience was virtually the same for both methods. “Everything I saw in person, I had also seen in their videos. That was reassuring to me as I thought about the reliability of using video in place of real-time traditional student teaching observations—and all the benefits of this new style of observing.”

A Trick Worth Trying

Glen loves student teaching videos so much that he recommends them to any teacher educator: “Using video for remote evaluation can be a very effective tool to save travel expenses and time while still providing an accurate assessment of teaching ability. The real benefit came to the student teachers, who were able to see for themselves what they were doing. Student teaching videos provided their first critical evaluation of what kind of teachers they were and how to get even better.”

If you found this article helpful, check out 5 Tips to Make Teacher Evaluation Forms that Work

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