No Series: Using Video to Improve Practice: Do It Yourself!

Using Video to Improve Practice: Do It Yourself!

Lesson Objective: Record and reflect on your teaching practice
All Grades / All Subjects / Reflection


Enjoy your first three pieces of content for free. Subscribe for unlimited access.

Have questions about subscribing? Click Here to learn more.

Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Wessling use notes as a reflection strategy?
  2. How does video enrich the coaching session between Ms. Wessling and her principal?
  3. How could you record your own practice?


  • Private message to Elizabeth Owonikoko

This video is good for teachers to watch because sometimes we do the same thing repeatedly without stepping back to reflect on what we have been doing or have a second person's perspective. As a teacher, it would help to have to watch our lesson, classroom management, and how we are engaging the students to discover and learn new things. It would also be good to have someone look at what we've been doing and offer their feedback if we want to get better at our profession. I love it the teacher is self-recording her lessons and would rewatch the video t make an informed judgment and make the necessary adjustments.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Geneva Cole

I believe this video was very beneficial to all teachers due to showing how tech is our friend and can help us become more polished in our profession.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Kristie Hewlett

I made one video and said to myself "That wasn't so scary!" It is a great learning tool. I may record without the students until schools open again.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Stephanie Blackwell

I think it is good to help you step back and see things in your teaching that you may not notice otherwise. It's a positive way to self critic yourself before having a formal observation by a peer or administrator. As a PE teacher, it's a good way to see what groups worked and what didn't and it would help me be able to see the class as a whole because when I am zoned in helping specific students or groups I miss things.

Recommended (0)
  • Private message to Irma Mansilla
I believe this is something I am going to start practicing. It is a beautiful idea for accountability, improvement, and reflecting on what is happening in the classroom.
Recommended (0)


  • Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC Good morning, everybody. Let's talk about what's going on today. To get started...


    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC Good morning, everybody. Let's talk about what's going on today. To get started...

    Using Video To Improve Practice: Do It Yourself!

    ...we're doing a peer review today, okay, a peer review day. And our goal by the end of class is for you to be able to determine whether or not you have moves to prove in your essays.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC My name is Sarah Brown Wessling.

    Sarah Brown Wessling High School English Teacher, Johnston, Iowa

    I am a high school English teacher at Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC Turn to somebody next to you. Tell them what you think I mean when I talk about moves to prove. I've talked.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC I think that there is a difference for teachers between the abstract of how we see our practice and then the concrete reality of it.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC Okay, so I would like you to please bring up your papers. The paper that you wrote for today that you shared with me.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC I think what video offers for us is a certain degree of reality. You can't really dispute what you see on the video. And there is a lot to be learned from that. And there's a lot of ways that we can grow as a profession when we actually get to see this. I just have a flip camera and a little tripod and invested in a tiny little wide angle lens. At the beginning of class, I just perch it in the back of the classroom. It's not a perfect shot. It doesn't catch every little thing that's going on. But I can hear the sound. I can see a lot, and I'm able to learn a lot from it. So, it really has been a simple but powerful tool in my own reflection.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC All right, let's take a look at the long one first, okay?

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC I tape everything actually. So I just put the camera up every day, and it's just always on.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC/VO Next week at the beginning of the week, we're going to start talking about this idea of constructing truth. And I'm going to ask you to think about whether or not that's lying.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC Once I'm finished taping, then I put it in my computer and then I'll scan it and you know take a peek at it. You can go ahead and take out your iPads. If I don't write things down, I don't remember them. So I think having the notes is a part of my thinking process. And a lot of times I discover what I'm seeing as I'm writing. I really have used it for my own personal growth and my own personal reflection on teaching strategy and methodology and classroom management, and just all of those different facets of a classroom.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC/VO This is my second hour class. And I've been videotaping my classes.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC One of the great things about the school that I'm in is we certainly have people who are more than willing to come into the classroom as soon as you ask them to. And certainly one of those people is my principal.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC A lot of times when I have students work in groups that I'm wandering more than I think I usually do.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC You know I asked him to come in and then I kind of said this was what my learning purpose was. This is kind of what I'm thinking about. Will you watch it with me with that set of eyes?

    Brent Riessen VO It might be interesting to hear what you're saying, you know, if it's a wandering and observing or if it's a feedback. Are you able to give feedback to groups when you get to each group? Because I'm noticing the ones in the forefront. You know some look like they're talking more than others.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO Right.

    Brent Riessen OC I think the advantage...

    Brent Riessen Principal, Johnston High School

    ...of video for a teacher is, first of all, it gives them that opportunity to be self-reflective. But I think the bigger aspect to it is that part to be collegial. The ability to have others take a look at it as well and see what their perceptions are.

    Brent Riessen OC It makes me think about what are you learning from them?

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO Right.

    Brent Riessen OC What are they learning from each other?

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO Right.

    Brent Riessen OC And somehow.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC Right.

    Brent Riessen OC Capturing that.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC Yeah.

    Brent Riessen OC You know so maybe it's at the end of class. .

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO Yeah.

    Brent Riessen OC That you chat those things down.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC Un-huh. I'll start doing that. Yeah.

    Brent Riessen OC It's a fantastic way to get better. It's so easy to just keep doing the same thing over and over again. But when you have a video that then breaks down what you've just done to talk about it with a colleague, it forces you in a good way to be reflective of your, your practice.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC I offered some of my observations and then he asked, he does what he does really well, which is ask great questions. And just kind of pushed my thinking and gave me some ideas about some reflection questions to ask the kids.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC/VO This is what I would like you to try to do with your iPads today. I would like you to try to record yourself reading your paper. So that part of your weekend revision work is going to be to listen to your paper.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC You have to be reminded over and over again about some of the practices that you need to repeat. The video actually just reminds me, "Oh, I got to get back on that. I, you know, I know how to do this. I know it's best practice." But just like everybody else, sometimes the rest of the universe takes over and I just need to get back into my old habits.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC I'm glad that we've actually done the process before so we can kind of compare what it's like with the iPads, what it's like without the iPads, what works, what doesn't, so.

    Sarah Brown Wessling VO/OC I think that video exposes so much of what's intrinsic to us as teachers in ways that help us learn and help us understand, and then help our broader communities understand what this complex work is really all about. I think it is a way to exemplify and illustrate things that we cannot convey in a lesson plan. Things you cannot convey in a standard. Things that you cannot even sometimes convey in a book of pedagogy.

    Sarah Brown Wessling OC All rightee, everybody, have a great weekend. I'll see you later.

School Details

Johnston Senior High School
6501 Northwest 62nd Avenue
Johnston IA 50131
Population: 1548

Data Provided By:



Sarah Brown Wessling
English Language Arts / 10 11 12 / Teacher


TCH Special

Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Engagement / Distance Learning

TCH Special

Webinar / Leadership / Distance Learning


Social Justice & Equity


Distance Learning


Professional Learning


Professional Learning