Teacher Education

Spark Self-Reflection Using Video & Silence

A short video clip about how delaying or withholding feedback can help students reflect on their performance

Hear how one teacher candidate’s performance soared after observing herself via video and reflecting on what she could do better.


Debbie Lively:

When I say something like, “Tell me what you see in the video that makes you feel you accomplished your lesson.” I have sat a long time without with silence, but I will not interrupt their thinking and I wait. Sometimes it’s a bit uncomfortable, but I would have to say 99% of the time it’s amazing what the students will then say given that opportunity. Because we’re always in a rush and sometimes we want to answer for them. And I have lots of time with video when I have done things where one time, I had a student that she had done just a terrible read aloud and this was a really good student. I mean she like a student that every teacher wants, every faculty member would like to work with this type of student. I mean assignments were so thoughtful, reflective uses citations appropriately. I mean everything on time just great. But her read aloud was terrible. She did not use any expression in her voice.

And I really got close to this student. She had gone on a study abroad with me. And so as I’m sitting there observing her and recording her. I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness, how am I going to tell her about how awful her read aloud was?” Because I didn’t want her to do poorly. I wanted her to do well. So anyway, when we watched the video, the video really made it wonderful for me because I said, “Okay, let’s think about the things that are needed to make a read aloud really effective. I’m wondering in your video the things that you see that you feel make that read aloud effective.” It wasn’t even like five seconds, she was looking at that and she said, oh my goodness, is that me? I said, “Well, tell me more when you say is that me? Tell me what you’re thinking.”

And she said, well, it is like boring. Look at the kids aren’t paying attention.” She said, “I’m just rushing, I’m not even using any expression.” And she said, it’s terrible. And I said, “Okay. So then we talked about the challenges and what kinds of things she could do to enhance it.” And she really took this effort on her own, did a lot more video recording and really did improve. Did she go from zero to a 100? No, but she went to about 80, which was a whole lot better than what we were at zero. But what took a lot of probing and a lot of allowing her to take those risks.