Taking action: Tools and approaches

Ideas you can choose from and adapt for your situation.

General suggestions

  • Sustain momentum by setting timeframes for action – two or four weeks – and reporting back on progress.
  • Establish a process for team support and reflection.
  • Focus observations specifically on the new practice.

Using video to become metacognitive about taking action

Just as students benefit from becoming metacognitive about their learning so do their teachers and leaders. Find out how to do this through the use of video.

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Feedback through video analysis

Part of taking action involves seeking feedback about whether the action is consistent with the research around the changed practice and whether students are responding differently.

Videos can be a powerful tool for analysing changed practice in this phase and for promoting learning.

Bridget Lummis recently completed a study in Auckland schools where leaders reviewed videos with teachers in the taking action phase.

About half the leaders promoted the teachers’ learning through:

  • co-constructing clear professional learning goals for the teacher based on what was happening for student learners
  • clarifying the purpose for reviewing particular segments of the video
  • giving the teachers control over which segments of the video they wanted to review
  • inquiring into the teachers’ thinking and exploring why particular choices or decisions seen in the video segment were made
  • providing the teacher with feedback directly related to the reviewed segment and inviting the teacher to discuss the feedback
  • co-constructing possibilities for new practice.

Less effective leaders decided which segments of the video to review and what the teachers’ professional learning goals should be. In essence, they told the teachers what they should be doing without providing genuine opportunities for discussion or response.

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Feedback through practice analysis conversations

Practice analysis conversations were developed in the literacy professional development project which included over 300 New Zealand schools over a period of seven years.

The teachers consistently rated the practice analysis conversations as the most effective in promoting their learning of all the different professional learning activities.

The conversations occurred in four phases:

  1. Establish learning goals and co-construct criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of practice prior to the observation.
  2. Observe using the criteria as a reference.
  3. Analyse relevant parts of the lesson using the criteria.
  4. Co-construct new ideas for practice based on the analysis.

You can find read a fuller description in Timperley, H. (2014). Developing Teacher Effectiveness through Professional Conversations. In O. Tan (Ed.). International Perspectives on Policy and Practice for Building New Teacher Competencies. (pp. 189-208).  Cengage Publishing.

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