Aligning Video Coaching to Instructional Vision? Here are Hartford Schools’ 5 Key Learnings

Hartford Public Schools, a Connecticut district with 39 schools, uses district-wide video coaching aligned to their larger instructional vision.

Video-based professional learning helps support Hartford’s District Model for Excellence, the district’s strategic operating plan.

Using Edthena, Hartford Public Schools captured 116 teaching videos in under a year, each tied to a specific aspect of the district’s instructional vision.

At the Learning Forward conference in Dec. 2021, Assistant Principal Justin Taylor presented about 5 key learnings that emerged from the process of video coaching and video-based professional learning.

Check out the video of the 12-minute presentation above or continue reading for highlights, including the 5 key learnings about how to align video coaching with an instructional vision.

Strong teacher practice starts with a strong instructional vision

“The instructional vision is really a road map for how we want teachers to practice in their classrooms and the language that we use to define high-quality instruction,” explained Justin.

This vision for high-quality teaching includes 6 core elements: being data-informed, collaborative, student-centered, culturally relevant, and differentiated, and having high expectations.

for post about video coaching, list of 6 elements of instructional vision with an icon for each: data-informed, high expectations, collaborative, student-centered, culturally relevant, and differentiated

Those 6 themes are based on Connecticut’s Common Core of Teaching, used by Hartford Schools as their teacher evaluation rubric.

To further define what these elements look like, leaders outlined the specific teacher actions and strategies that would improve teacher practice within each element and the resulting student actions.

For example, teacher actions for ‘student-centered’ include implementing learning station models, allowing students to make meaningful choices about what or how they learn, and using encouraging words to praise the process of learning.

Then, Hartford Schools had teachers record themselves demonstrating those actions.

Assistant Principal Justin Taylor said, “We asked [teachers] to capture video footage using Edthena of each of these different teacher actions as they were playing out in the classroom.”

After capturing over 100 videos in a year, 5 key learnings emerged.

Key learnings about using video coaching aligned to an instructional vision

Justin talked about 5 key learnings about using video coaching to capture specific teacher actions. The 5 learnings are:

  1. Organizing Framework. “Our instructional vision gave us an organizing framework to discuss instruction and a lens through which coaches could focus their efforts at capturing classroom video. The common language and expectations that were articulated in the instructional vision were key to ensuring we had a series of videos that were aligned to high-quality teaching and learning.”
  2. Identify “Early Adopters”. “Capturing video of classroom practice can be a vulnerable experience.” Identifying early adopters who got on board quickly and leveraging strong relationships helped other teachers feel comfortable with the video coaching process.
  3. Examples, Not Exemplars. “While we did hope to share exemplary practice, we never set that as the expectation for teachers.” This decision helped reduce anxiety among teachers who were nervous about video coaching.
  4. Keep It Bite-Sized. Even though 20-30 minutes may have been captured during an observation, coaches cut these videos down to bite-sized 2-5 minute clips. This kept the clips focused on specific teacher actions aligned to the instructional vision.
  5. Quality Control. Instructional coaches added teaching video clips to their Edthena Video Library. “We put all the videos through a rigorous review process … to ensure that the practices captured did indeed support all learners.”

Through the video coaching process, Hartford Public Schools’ 5 key learnings provided opportunities for professional learning across the district.

To learn more about video coaching best practices from Edthena partners, check out this blog post about Keller ISD’s teacher leadership pathway.

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