The thought of being videotaped while teaching could make me break out in a cold sweat. Will I say the right things? Will I stumble over my words? Will I look awkward? Will my students behave the way I hope they will? Aaaaah! Deep breaths!
Welcome to Component 3 of National Board Certification - The Video Submissions. This is part 4 of a 5 part series of National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adulthood (AYA) Science. *
To be honest, this was my hardest component to complete. My perfectionistic qualities caused me to spin my wheels most of the time I worked on it. Finally, when I was able to get out of the rut I was in, I scrambled to finish on time. While I am glad it is over, I definitely grew the most as a teacher during this component and ultimately passed. I gave myself the same pep-talk I gave my students - Struggling is a sign of growth. I certainly struggled and I absolutely grew! As I reflect on my Component 3 experience, I want to give you some insight and advice to help your Component 3 run smoothly!
Component 3 is 30% of your National Board score, double the other portfolio component percentages (Figure 1). In Component 3, you will record and analyze two 10-15 minute unedited videos of different lessons you have taught in the last 12 months. These two videos must highlight the diverse instructional strategies you use in your classroom and cannot be lessons utilized in other components. It is a chance for the National Board to see your classroom environment and how you make on-the-fly decisions to help your students grow in their understanding of the content. For each video you will submit a total of 10 pages of information: a one-page Instructional Planning Form overview, two pages describing your planning and rationale of the lesson filmed, three pages of instructional materials, and four pages answering analysis and reflection questions in the Written Commentary.1 You will also submit one page of Contextual Information of your teaching situation. This component does not require as many typed pages as the other component portfolios because creating and extracting video evidence is time-consuming.
Figure 1: Breakdown of National Board Score
Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
Why was this component the hardest one for me to complete? I put all my eggs into one basket. After reading through the National Board Science Standards3 and the questions and rubric in the Component 3 Guidelines,1 I selected two lessons highlighting my positive classroom culture, student-centered discourse, and responsive feedback in an open inquiry and guided inquiry instructional format. After a few short test-runs to figure out the best way to record the classroom, I executed my plan. When I sat down to answer the Written Commentary questions, I started to spin my wheels. Nothing felt “right.” The videos felt “flat,” even though students were engaged. There were a few questions I struggled to find solid evidence for in my videos. I spun my wheels for almost two months. I wanted to execute my plan. With just two weeks before submission, I finally decided to switch out one of my videos with one of my test-runs. I re-wrote all of the paperwork for it, barely finishing by the submission deadline. The imperfect test-run video had better student discourse and contained magical “aha” moments compared to my planned video. I was lucky the test-run was over 10 minutes long so I could use it! I know it was a good decision to switch out the video as I could easily answer the questions in the Written Commentary with strong evidence. I just wish I made the decision a month or so before! The moral of the story? Always tape in 15+ minute increments. Have multiple video options to select from. You will never know when “magic” strikes on camera!
Practice, Realign, Elevate!
There are many things to capture in your 10-15 minute videos, so planning is key. The questions and rubric for Component 3 lend themself well to an inquiry-based student-centered classroom. Student discourse is a key area of focus. You need to show evidence of how you monitor progress and give feedback. You will be asked how and why you sequenced the instructional activities and how and why you made changes to your plan while teaching. You will also get a chance to show off your classroom culture in your video (See Figure 2). I would suggest practicing, realigning to the rubric, and then elevating your instruction.
Figure 2: Features of the Video Submission
The National Board provides great video recording tips in the General Portfolio Guidelines.2 Take time early in the school year to practice videotaping. First, I started with a Swivl hands-free camera. When I watched the footage, I checked if I could hear and see everyone. I also checked to make sure I did not have any identifying information about myself or my location in my room. I am glad I did! I discovered I could not hear the students talking or see many of their faces with the Swivl and ended up training a study hall student to videotape for me. I also realized I forgot to remove a UW-Madison foam finger from the top of my cabinet.
If I had to do this component again, I would suggest recording as many lessons as you can. I wish I had recorded a lesson, checked back with the rubric, realigned, elevated my teaching, and recorded again. I got stuck in this component because I put all my eggs in one basket by recording only two official videos. When I looked at the questions and rubric after recording, I realized the videos were not as well aligned as I had hoped. It paralyzed me in the process. One of the areas of the rubric focuses on strong student discourse. I have been trained in many teaching methods focused on student-centered discourse. These methods include Process Orientated Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), Modeling, 5E Inquiry, Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI), Project-Based Learning (PBL), Socratic seminars, Target Inquiry, and NGSS Storylines (If you have not tried these methods - they are worth checking out!). I try to bring parts of all these methods into my classroom. Before I watched my official video recordings for Component 3, I felt I had strong student discourse in my classroom. Without a doubt, I considered my classroom to be student-centered. Boy, was I wrong! When I watched the recordings, I realized I unconsciously undermined the inquiry, discourse, and student-centeredness of my classroom. During the whiteboard presentations, I interjected and commented right away. Any discourse in the classroom went through me because I repeated what they said, confirmed, or questioned. Students would interject, but only after I made my comment. I controlled the discourse much more than I thought or would like. It was eye-opening for me! If I did this component again, I would revisit my training in student discourse, improve my teaching, and try again in a different lesson. I would be honest with my students about what I saw and how I want to change. I would elevate my teaching and let my students truly discuss their ideas without me holding them back. I would wash, rinse, repeat until I got the results I wanted to see in my teaching. National Board does not expect perfection as there is a section of the written commentary focused on reflection and what you would do differently next time. However, striving to improve will not only benefit you but your students as well!
Sneak in Evidence
Think outside the box to sneak in evidence to reference in the Written Commentary. Think about having your videographer film the learning targets on the board, posters highlighting classroom environment protocols, how students use their handouts, student-created whiteboards, or a bulletin board of student work to use as potential evidence. When submitting instructional materials consider scanning in samples with student answers, reflections, revisions, and feedback from you. I found this helpful to show strong evidence of student growth. When I analyzed and selected videos, I watched the videos multiple times - sometimes without sound and other times without visuals. I was surprised I found different evidence to time-stamp and include in my analysis when I only focused on one sense at a time - sight or sound.
The videos of Component 3 allow you to take a realistic look at your teaching. You will cringe at your mannerisms and sigh when you could have done something better, but you will also cheer at those “aha” moments, say “awe” when students encourage each other, and feel pride when students exceed your expectations. These moments happen many times in the classroom but they are gone in a blink of an eye. I truly enjoyed watching all of those wonderful moments I caught on film over and over again. Looking back, the video recordings of this component helped me truly elevate my teaching and tackle student discourse head-on. I would have never seen my problem with discourse. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to change. I have definitely improved my student discourse in my classroom and constantly keep myself “in-check.” Nothing I have participated in has caused me to grow more. Good luck with your Component 3 and I hope you also find growth!
*Read the other parts of the series here:
Component 2 of National Board Certification
CITATIONS / ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS / SUPPORTING INFORMATION:
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Science Adolescent and Young Adulthood Component 3 Resources, http://www.nbpts.org/wp-content/uploads/EA_AYA_Science_Comp3.zip, Pearson, 2018 (accessed 6/29/19)
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, General Portfolio Instructions, https://www.nbpts.org/wp-content/uploads/NB_general_portfolio_instructions.pdf, Pearson, 2019 (accessed 6/1/19)
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Science Standards, http://www.nbpts.org/wp-content/uploads/EAYA-SCIENCE.pdf, (accessed 6/1/19)