Using video to improve teaching
Video to Support Excellence in Teaching (VIST) started the second round of filming and supervision of teachers in Norway.
Photo: Larissa Lily, QUINT/UiO
VIST was born out of a current research project Linking Instruction and Student Achievement (LISA) that is a comprehensive classroom study lead by Kirsti Klette and funded by the Research Council of Norway. LISA researchers have studied teaching quality in mathematics and Norwegian language lessons in the eighth grade. VIST was developed in close collaboration with the Education Agency in Oslo, and is an innovative approach that fosters partnership between researchers and teachers.
(Video production: Anna Birkeland Olerud)
VIST aims to offer professional development to teachers in the use of scaffolding in teaching, by expanding the teachers’ repertoire of modelling, strategies and use of feedback.
QUINT Deputy Director Marte Blikstad-Balas is the leader of the project. She highlights the uniqueness of the VIST approach:
The project fulfills all the ambitions set out by the new scheme for decentralised competence development here in Norway – it is a unique collaboration between teachers, principals and the Higher Education sector. Unlike many other projects where the researchers assume what the school might need, we take a systematic approach that is based on the actual teaching in each school.
VIST invites schools to join the project and the tutors are handpicked. In each school, three teachers in Norwegian and three in mathematics are filmed over several lessons. It is this recorded material from actual classroom that provides the starting point for coaching and discussions with the teachers. Researchers from University of Oslo provide the teachers with supervision.
Several studies have shown that using video recordings has strong potential for teachers’ professional development, as it allows referring to actual teaching situations.
In addition to coaching teachers closely over a period, VIST aims to accommodate for collective professional development in schools. The school leaders are actively involved in the project. In addition, VIST arranges discipline specific joint meetings for all the teachers in order to look at how different forms of instructional scaffolding can be included in teaching the different subjects.
Knowledge the schools can use
The principal at Øraker school in Oslo, Vigdis Lad, explains that participating in the project has been important not only for the teachers, but for the whole school staff:
At Øraker, we agree that this is valuable competence that fits well within our strategic work for further developing the professional community.
The Head of Department of Teacher Education and School Research, Rita Hvistendahl, highlights that VIST builds directly on the institute’s research on quality education, especially the research conducted by the Nordic Centre of Excellence, Quality in Nordic Teaching, that VIST is a part of.
We really appreciate the close collaboration with Oslo Education Agency (Utdaniningsetaten). This is a unique situation where we can use our research results in a direct collaboration with schools in Oslo. In this sense, the VIST project is an innovative and interesting model on how knowledge based on current research can be used, Hvistendahl empahsises.
Consultant at the Oslo Education Agency, Mabel Øhlen, explains that from their perspective, the project offers teachers possibilities to reflect on their own teaching practice.
One of the things we like about VIST is that the schools are given the opportunity to focus on individual components of teaching practices that the teachers already make use of, and that we know are of importance when it comes to the pupil’s learning outcomes, Øhlen states.