Setting Up an Environment for Reflection

A short video clip describing the environment and tools one district is using to create opportunities for reflection to fuel professional learning

Hear firsthand ways you can build a learning community for teachers centered around reflection.


Brent Raby:

If you’re not reflecting, you’re just kind of keep moving through. So, we’re going to keep making the same mistakes. And it is interesting how somebody can have… So, I instruct a lesson and I can have one perspective of it, but the students can have a completely different perspective or, et cetera. So, one of the things that we’ve done is we’ve actually set up learning labs and quite a few of our different districts, and they’re actually recording studios. So, we put mics in the ceiling, we put multiple cameras in and the teachers can walk in and they press a button, and outside the door it says recording on, and they put their class in there and they teach.

And so, I think that is one of the most powerful things. That video gets uploaded into a different software and it actually gets categorized and you can search that library by keyword. And it actually takes the audio recordings. So, it does a lot of cool things in the background. And we’ve actually built a lot of content where we can actually show people to say like, “Hey, when we talk about vocabulary instruction, this is what we really want to see or we can take some examples that maybe not the best and we can really reflect. We have a ton of swivel cameras within our system, all of our microcredentials part of that action learning is that they do record themselves and they do reflect.” It was super intimidating for our staff early on because a lot of people don’t like the sound of their own voice, and they absolutely don’t like the sound of their own voice when they’re teaching.

And it’s such a personalized thing that they close their door and it is their classroom, their domain, and they really do feel like they’re in control of that. But when you start breaking down those walls and you start inviting other people in to also help them reflect, it really kind of builds that learning community together because people are seeing things that they haven’t before. So, I would say probably one of the most powerful things that we’ve done in use of technology is that ability to record and set up areas and situations where it’s not overwhelming for staff to record. Because a lot of times they’re like, “I don’t want to use my phone,” or “The phone didn’t work. The volume didn’t work,” or “I didn’t hear what that table was saying.”

So, we’ve invested heavily in a lot of audio video equipment to make it really easy. So, if you’re in these classes or we’re asking you to reflect, there’s easy ways to do that. And because it auto generates emails for you and things like that, that they can quickly open it up and they can find the sections that they want. It is still private until they open some of those doors. But I would say that’s probably one of the most powerful things that we did since we’ve seen a major change when we started integrating the reflection pieces from what we were doing before.