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Teaching Development Tools - Videotaped Teaching Analysis

Self or Colleague Analysis of Videotaped Teaching Sample


Videotape is without a doubt one of the most effective mediums for improving instruction. It is also one of the most anxiety-provoking. It is all well and good to have students assess aspects of instruction, even on occasion to have colleagues offer comments, but to confront the teaching self on tape is quite another story. Generally what happens first is that the instructor focuses on physical characteristics: Do I look that old? Why is my hair sticking up in the back? Where did that arm gesture come from? The purpose of this form is to move the focus away from those arenas to the more substantive aspects of teaching. It can serve to guide the review of a taped teaching sample.


The form can be used for a self-analysis of videotaped teaching or by a colleague reviewer. It is probably most effective if it is used by both and discussed jointly. The problem of self-review is objectivity-reaching a place distant enough so that teaching can be viewed dispassionately. A colleague can help a faculty member reach that place by pointing out teaching behaviors that might otherwise be missed.

Instructors using this instructional development strategy are advised to wait at least a day or so after taping before viewing the tape. The instructor and colleague can look at the tape separately or together. Either way, the discussion that follows will have greater effect if the conclusions offered can be illustrated with examples on the tape. If, for example, the colleague believes the instructor does not summarize content segments adequately, points of transition on the tape can be viewed jointly and what the instructor does or does not do can be seen. This is one of the advantages of videotape analysis--it is difficult to argue about whether or not a particular behavior occurred.


Obviously, tabulating the results recorded on this form is not especially important. The ratings of the instructor and colleague can be compared to identify areas of disagreements which can then be discussed and reviewed, if need be. It is also important to see the behaviors in context, i.e. meaning, the instructor's goals (both immediate and long term) are relevant. What has gone before in the class and what will come after will have an effect, and who the students are makes a difference. A colleague reviewer ought to offer assessments apprised of this context. Moreover, generalizations from the tape ought to be modest in scope. A 20-minute teaching sample is representative, but how representative is a crucial consideration. In terms of a total teaching performance spanning 15 weeks in a course, three different courses in a semester, ten different courses during four years, it is at best a small slice. Finally, the act of being taped has effects. Most instructors "feel" the presence of the camera. How does that awareness effect what they do? The question has no definite answer, but the effect of being taped needs to be taken into account.


Diamond, N., Sharp, G., and Ory, J.C. Improving your Lecturing, Urbana: Office of Instructional Resources, University of Illinois, 1978. This instrument may be used in whole or part if credit is given to the source.