Andy Watkins

I don’t know about you, but I hate seeing and hearing myself on a video recording. It’s that cringe moment! However, if I was told that this would help me develop as a teacher, I may sit up and listen. Having carried out some research on using video technology in the classroom I have seen the vast array of benefits that it can bring.

My interest in this was sparked after reading Rachel Lofthouse’s article on re-imagining mentoring. I was curious about how video could help support trainee teachers and, at the same time, assist mentors who support them. When I was told my University had some IRIS Connect kits available, the right side of my brain kicked in and said “let’s go!”.

Image of a videoconference on a laptop with a mug.
Image of a videoconference by Chris Montgomery via Unsplash

Within Initial Teacher Education (ITE) educators are looking for every opportunity to help teachers develop and although video recording is no new thing it may be something for teachers to start using more.

I set about using IRIS Connect with my PGCE Geography trainees and evaluated its use with them and their mentors.
The difficulty is overcoming the barriers that present themselves when using video. GDPR is a growing issue but there are ways and means of over-coming this that some digital platforms have as part of their functionality. Resistance is definitely the main problem. Maybe it is the dulcet tones of your own voice that put you off, or the way you constantly bob your head like one of those nodding figurines; Is it the fact that you have never needed to be recorded before and you’re above all that? ; Critical of who will watch it and for what purpose, or is it purely video-phobia?

The benefits of video in the classroom

When you see what the benefits are it will be hard to imagine not using it!. “I’m sure that lesson went well… didn’t it?” The idea of ‘second time around’ makes life so much simpler. In teaching, second time around is the next lesson or the next time we teach that lesson. Having the opportunity to see your lesson, review it and develop it will surely give you a good feeling when you are delivering again. Maybe using group work would have helped, refocusing your questioning, a modelled example thrown in or whatever it was you saw that would make learning and teaching better. Watching it with someone else sees things from a different perspective, allowing them to explain their thought process as it is viewed, this can really help to develop relationships too. It allows for more self-awareness though critical reflection and develops that all important growth mindset. From a mentor’s point of view, they can refocus conversation and thrive too. The end goal of course is to help raise pupil achievement, and if their learning experience can be made better to do so … I’ll have that!

So what will it be: worry about watching yourself nod like the Churchill dog or see your potential rise dramatically?

Find out more about Andy’s work via

The ACRE 2023 conference was hosted by the IDI Research Network. Find out more about getting involved with our research networks.

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