Putting the ‘view’ into self-review

(i.e. evaluators of their own teaching). He states that ‘visible learning for teachers provides detailed explanations to prepare, teach and analyse lessons according to what works best’; in other words, enabling them to ‘see’ and better understand learning through their own eyes and the eyes of their students. By watching their own teaching, teachers can really start to effectively self-review in order to refine their own teaching pedagogy. While Ofsted does not require schools to have a particular format for self-evaluation, the expectation is that teachers and schools will self- evaluate to constantly refine their teaching pedagogy.


n the first of our two features this month on pedagogy we hear from Andrew Goff, vice president of education development at ONVU Learning, who offers his advice to schools on introducing effective lesson self-review to enhance teaching pedagogy. If anyone is best placed to recognise the importance of constantly perfecting the art of teaching, it’s teachers. Sadly, however, with the increasing pressure on student performance and results, teacher development often becomes a secondary priority.

Globally respected professor of education John Hattie has published several books and research papers based on performance indicators and the evaluation in education, as well as creativity measurement and models of teaching and learning. His ‘Visible Learning’ (2009) research was described by The Times Educational Supplement as the ‘holy grail of teaching‘. In his book ‘Visible Learning for Teachers’, Hattie claims that learning becomes apparent when teachers are also learners

September 2017

Over recent years, teacher evaluation has started to transition from dreaded external inspections (which tend to influence atypical teaching practices), towards self-evaluation. And what we do know is that Ofsted recognises outstanding schools to be those where self- evaluation is a powerful tool in driving pedagogical improvement.

However, the danger of self-evaluation is that we’re all human. If we review any one classroom session by memory recollection alone, it is easy to justify our delivery. We may be honest with a few aspects, recognising that certain things could have been done differently but we’d conclude that overall ‘it was a relatively effective lesson.’ It is only when teachers actually have the opportunity to watch a recording of their teaching that a true evaluation can be carried out. For this reason, an increasing number of schools across the UK are using video technology to enable constructive, analytical self-review.

For example, a teacher may think the lesson has gone well. But it is not until they are able to watch the lesson on a video recording that they notice a whole stream of things they may have missed during the lesson. For example, the expressions on

a group of children’s faces: complete confusion. If the teacher had noticed this at the time then they could have moved over to give this group further support.

Sean Warren PhD, an education consultant for ONVU Learning, trained as a teacher in 1988. Over the subsequent decades his drive for self- improvement resulted in him becoming a practitioner-researcher. Concerned about the psychological cost of constantly being measured against external standards and unrealistic internal expectations, he critiqued the concept of effectiveness. Dr Warren’s view is that the foundations of positive self-evaluation, leading to refined teaching pedagogy, are based on the teacher valuing and respecting the process. The most effective approach is essentially to be constructive and non-judgemental. At ONVU Learning we start with the assumption that the teacher is a competent adult, a professional; we appreciate that groups are dynamic and lessons are unique snapshots, which are nonetheless rich in potential for learning.


Traditionally, many schools carry out observations from one end of the classroom with one or more internal or external people making notes at the back of the class. However, when it comes to being observed it is a big ask for some staff to replace underlying feelings of threat, criticism and even fear, with trust. In our experience, it is likely to be a tentative process.

However invasive this appears, the important part of helping schools move towards self- assessment is by doing it in a non-judgemental way.

Over the past two years this process has been greatly enhanced by the use of LessonVU, ONVU Learning’s discrete 360 video camera recording 25

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