From Leadership to Teacher Candidates, Self-Reflection Is a Powerful Tool for Learning

A video clip highlighting the impact of lessons learned through self-reflection

Sean McCarthy, Induction Program Director and Coordinator of Staff Development, reflects on his experience earning National Board Certification and how it helped inform the video observation process K12 school teachers and mentors use today.  


Sean McCarthy:

As I developed my portfolio to become national board certified, I actually had to videotape myself teaching and then analyze and reflect on my practices. And it was such a powerful and eye-opening experience for me.

I actually identified things that I didn’t like about my practice that I was able to work on, transform, and it made just a huge difference throughout my career. So we’ve been incorporating this as what we call a third point. And that third point concept comes from Laura Lipton’s Mentoring Matters and Learning Focus Supervision work, which we use to train our mentors in cognitive coaching practices. But what we love is that third point, that video third point, really helps our candidates see for themselves what’s happening in their classrooms so they can make action plans to improve teaching and learning.

And we use that third point to basically lower the kind of affect of filter with our candidates so that they really make those discoveries themselves and do so in a very safe risk-free way because the video just becomes a subjective third point that the mentors kind of facilitate them seeing where they need to go as opposed to if the mentor were to come in and say, hey, I really notice a lot of disengagement among your students, and saying something like that to a candidate almost always, no matter how eager they are to learn and to develop, almost always relates into a little defensiveness or a little fear and often eliminates the learning that can take place.

Whereas if they kind of discover it for themselves by seeing it on video, oh wow, I’ve got a lot of students who aren’t participating, some students I didn’t even notice had their head on the desk. When they discover that from themselves, then they want to make those changes and it becomes really impactful and really powerful.