One of the challenges on large–scale teacher development projects is observing enough lessons to arrive at some general conclusions about teachers’ classroom practices, before, during and after an intervention. Various factors related to budget, human resources, and geography do in fact mean that project evaluations often involve very modest numbers of observations, relying more heavily on self–reported data through, for example, questionnaires. COVID, by limiting travel, has made collecting observational data from classrooms even harder. One assignment I worked on for the British Council recently explored how video might be used to address such issues and facilitate the collection and analysis of a larger number of lessons on teacher development projects.
The first part of the work involved a literature review. The initial aim was to review material where video had been used to evaluate teacher development projects, but it soon became clear that very limited work of that kind was available. So I expanded my searches beyond education, including material from other fields, for example, medicine and engineering. Also, while it was clear that video had been widely used (a) as part of observational research and (b) to support teacher professional development, across disciplines there was little evidence of its use to evaluate changes in behaviour following a development project.
In the end 25 recent papers were identified, and these were analysed for insights into the benefits of using video to evaluate behavioural change, the challenges of using it for this purpose, and ways of using it more effectively to study how interventions impact on what people do. As a result of the review, a number of recommendations were also made for the effective use of video in evaluating behavioural change. If you are interested in reading more about these issues, the paper is available open access at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2021.102007.