One of the things I stress when working with teachers is to have them record themselves in the classroom, either using audio or video. It’s eye-opening (and illusion-shattering) when you see yourself on the screen saying things and doing things. It’s made my practice more self-reflective in the moment — what would I say or do if I replayed this later?
We’ve got a new little tool that alleviates two of the problems with just putting a videocamera at the back of the room:
- Audio… if the camera is at the back of the room, the audio often picks up way too much noise from the students. I realize that students are our raison d’etre, but when you’re focusing on improving you and your teaching, you want to hear what you are saying (reflecting on what your students are doing is a whole other issue!)
- Movement… if you’re doing teaching right, you’re not standing in one place. A stationary camera, even with a wide angle lens, often doesn’t capture you as you move around the classroom. You could bring a camera operator in but then you add a whole new dynamic to the classroom — we all know what happens to the students when there’s someone new in their space! Plus, imposing on someone else’s time just to turn a camera isn’t really efficient.