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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog

09

Face Yourself Face Your Talent Face Your Camera

In my NQT year I got a visit from an HMI. Accompanied by the head I could tell they wanted a favour. It was this, "Mike, could we video you in action?" I said yes to most things that year but I must have hesitated at this request because the inspector added, "Don't worry, it's only a small camera". Like that made any difference.

Anyhow, the lesson was filmed and I got to see myself teach for the first time. Yes Mike, that's how you sound. Yes Mike, that's what you look like. Yes Mike, that shirt doesn't really go. I saw myself in all my raw NQT glory. Floundering, succeeding, rethinking, missing things, clocking things, failing and picking myself back up. And I'm glad I did it then, glad I faced myself early on, glad I got over it and began to use it. Glad I had all the evidence staring me in the face to help me become better at what I did.

Since that time I've used video on and off to tweak my teaching and training. I always find something new to feel good about and something I want to fix - a mannerism, a turn of phrase, a stance. But now the game has been raised.

I feel like a carpenter who has just been handed a saw when he didn't know saws existed. This morning I used the Iris Connect system at Foxborough, Langley to ramp up the in-ear iCoaching I've been developing since last year. I don't think I've enough blog space to explain how powerful it is. Remote classroom observation, in-ear coaching, audio/video/text notes, lesson analysis tools and forms and timers, and all under 100% permission-based control of the teacher. This is the definitive 'done with' model of professional growth. It wouldn't work as 'done to'. It would do harm instead of good.

How powerful it is to have a trusted colleague tell you there and then how well you managed behaviour; how helpful it is to have them remind you to ask the question you told the kids you would - but had forgotten to in the plenary; how reassuring to know that people whose opinion you value are non-judgementally observing and offering advice, comment and support. And how positive that they invite you to do the same for them.

This is 21st Century CPD; above debates over politics and pedagogy; beyond performance management and so much more effective than punitive inspection. 

More to follow. Just off to review my lesson from this morning and face the awful tie I chose and work on my mix of question types (thanks JR)

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