The Visible Classroom project: A model for using teacher feedback to enhance professional learning

Year: 2016

Author: Murphy, Sophie, Dawson, Georgia, Clinton, Janet, Mason, Sarah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Providing useful feedback for teachers in real time, based on sound educational pedagogy, aligns with models of best teaching practice like Visible Learning (Hattie, 2008). However, the challenge of finding rigorous, objective mechanisms for providing feedback to teachers on teaching practice is one that has confronted educators for some time. Standard techniques for teacher assessment and feedback, such as classroom observation, have been heavily critiqued on the grounds of accuracy, predictive validity, (Gargani & Strong, 2014), and their ability to create environments that support the provision of feedback to teachers. The Visible Classroom project is an intervention that seeks to address this gap by providing teachers with opportunities to reflect on their teaching and develop their classroom practice using real-time, credible evidence. The Melbourne Graduate School of Education in conjunction with Access Innovation Media (Ai-Media) developed a system utilising real-time speech-to-text, automated teaching analytics, and manual in-depth coding to support teacher reflection and practice development, and student engagement in the learning process. This project grew out of an initial pilot in Victoria which trialled the applications of the technology in providing greater access to classroom instruction and discussion for deaf and hard of hearing students. It became evident in this trial that the value of these transcripts as an impetus to support teachers to evaluate their impact on student learning was immense. This presentation will provide an overview of the Visible Classroom model, its key implementation components, and initial evidence of its success in shifting specific teacher practices. This paper will also provide a high level summary of findings on factors that influence whether and how teachers incorporate feedback into their daily practice, with consideration for issues such as feedback orientation, the use of mentors, and the nature of professional learning conversations. In this way, the current presentation will form a foundation for the remainder of the symposium through a detailed summary of the Visible Classroom project and its potential as a mechanism for enhancing teachers’ professional learning, both in pre-service teacher education and in-service professional learning environments.