Utilizing SIOP lesson video demonstrations as a springboard for reflection: A collaborative self-study of EL teachers

July, 2021

Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 37:3, 152-166

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The primary purpose of this study was to explore the benefits and challenges of creating Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) video demonstrations from three graduate students in an online EL teacher education class.
A subsequent purpose was to examine the support university instructors could provide teachers to facilitate instructional reflection during the video demonstration process as part of their overall growth in English learner (EL) teaching efficacy.
The following research question guided the authors’ collaborative self-study:
1. What are the benefits and challenges of:
a. Reviewing,
b. Editing, and
c. Sharing SIOP lesson demonstrations to improve one’s teaching?

This collaborative self-study (Louie et al., 2003) employed qualitative methods in order to understand how viewing, editing, and sharing of participating graduate students’ lesson demonstrations could be used as a means for improving their teaching of the SIOP model with their own PK-12 students.
In particular, the authors implemented a qualitative analysis of participants’ written reflections, interviews, instructor assignment comments, and selected course materials for three graduate students in one course occurring over a 15-week semester.
It further engendered multiple perspectives from the participants and the authors (both as researchers and instructors) with implications for this class and across the bilingual/ESL program in which they both work.

Context of the study
Researcher 1 served as an instructor for the online graduate course, Foundations of Bilingual/ ESL (English as a Second Language) Education.
The course required graduate students to plan, teach, film, and reflect upon a lesson which integrated key components of the SIOP model.
During the lesson planning process, graduate students posted drafts of their lesson plans to the online course and received feedback electronically (i.e., via Skype video-conferencing, email, and telephone) from the instructor and classmates.
Based on the feedback, students made revisions to their lesson plans.
A university videographer filmed the graduate students as they presented their lessons.
Graduate students were then provided with the compete recording of their lesson demonstrations.
After the graduate students had viewed their lesson demonstration, they were asked to write a reflection on both their experience using strategies to facilitate EL learning and the effectiveness of the filming process. Most stages in the process consisted of detailed instructions and rubrics/checklists.
Based on the participants’ and instructor’s recommendations, the videographer edited the full-length lesson demonstration video into a shorter five to 15-minute video.
Once the videos were edited, the video along with associated resources (e.g., participants’ lesson plans, handouts) were shared on a public website (the ELL Lesson Library2).
Within the course announcements, the instructor encouraged graduate students to share their unedited and edited lessons with others outside the course (e.g., colleagues, family members, friends).
However, there was no formal requirement to share videos of the lesson demonstrations and they were not graded on sharing/not sharing the videos.
The participants were students pursuing a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at one four-year university, including both pre-service educators (those who were not yet certified to teach) and in-service educators (those who were certified and were working in the field of education as a teacher, administrator, classroom aide, etc.).
Three graduate students agreed to participate in the study.

Findings and discussion

Role of reflection through video
The current study corroborates previous work on video demonstrations that illustrates how it can be used as a tool to examine a particular area of growth, from multiple perspectives, including overlooked details.
All participants reported how the multiple, different views through the reviewing and editing stages contributed to their growth as teachers.
In fact, each teacher mentioned how this fine-grained analysis not only affected how she thought about teaching in the moment, but also had a continued effect for plans for instruction in the future.
In particular, the participants shared how watching footage of themselves teaching enabled them to view their lessons from a new vantage point (i.e., as an outsider or elementary student) and see what linguistic supports they could further provide for students to engage with academic vocabulary and content. By having clear expectations during the process and multiple opportunities to dialogue with Researcher 1, the participants were able to focus on specific areas of growth for teaching ELs.
Two key trends in previous research that Researcher 1 aimed to maintain throughout the project were clear but flexible expectations and opportunities to collectively reflect on the project, before, during, and after filming.

Future directions
Given the substantial time commitment and skills needed for video editing, the authors would not recommend that teachers unfamiliar with video editing attempt to edit their videos alone.
Doing so may result in unproductive frustration, detract from the focus on reflective teaching, and place undue emphasis on the technical aspects of editing.
If instructors do not have access to a video editor, they may wish to significantly limit the amount of editing required.
One way to do so would be by having students select one or more continuous segments from their videos to share with their classmates and possibly others outside the course.
As is the case for some self-studies with limited participants, the findings, while valuable in their given context, cannot be generalized to the population at large.
The authors anticipate that including a greater number of participants would help to achieve data saturation in which participants provide feedback related to varying themes, until no new themes emerge.
Future research may be useful in investigating the impact of reviewing video versus other types of reflective professional development, particularly on lessons intended for ELs.
It may also be beneficial to further examine how explicit requirements to share the video with classmates, colleagues and others outside the course support or hinder educators’ reflective processes.
Moreover, future researchers may wish to examine how online evolving online platforms can be used to encourage reflective teaching.
Finally, the authors wish to emphasize the urgency of maximizing video reflections in teacher preparation in light of COVID-19; it forced many K-12 schools and universities to temporarily transition to online instruction. This resulted in a push to consider how to prepare and support teachers remotely, further spurring the creation and development of technologies which facilitate remote observation of teachers’ lesson demonstrations. Companies like GoReact offer an online platform which allow users to watch lesson demonstrations in real time or later as recordings.
GoReact also offers additional features not available through video alone, such as the ability to leave comments at specific parts of the video and embed teaching rubrics within the platform.
As video and learning technologies continue to evolve, teacher and teacher educators will have unprecedented opportunities to utilize video as a means to facilitate teacher reflection.

Louie, B. Y., Drevdahl, D. J., Purdy, J. M., & Stackman, R. W. (2003). Advancing the scholarship of teaching through collaborative self-study. The Journal of Higher Education, 74(2), 150–171 

Updated: Dec. 05, 2021