A Case Study on Video-based Professional Development



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Pearson and Gallagher’s (1983) Gradual Release of Responsibilities Model suggests the starting point of teaching is modeling. As teacher expertise is essential in supporting good instruction, teachers need modeling of best-practice instruction. Video-based demonstration lessons allow for on-demand modeling opportunities in a variety of settings. The aim of this study was to examine the perceptions of district-level curriculum staff at an urban school district who created a series of video-based demonstration lessons to support a balanced literacy initiative. The following research questions were addressed in this study: (1) What are instructional coaches’ perceptions of the design, content, and implementation of Thinking Made Visible, a series of video-based demonstration lessons? and (2) What are instructional coaches’ perceptions of the impact of Thinking Made Visible on teacher capacity? A collective case study was utilized and interviews along with a focus group of secondary district-level literacy and English language arts instructional coaches who experienced the video-based demonstration lessons was conducted. The constant comparative method was used to analyze interview data and develop themes. Instructional coaches in this study perceived that Thinking Made Visible provided modeling, offered the authenticity of a district classroom setting, supported the district’s vision of instruction, contained choice of accessible videos, was of use in instructional coaches’ work, and positively impacted teacher capacity. Examining these perceptions and how one district implemented video-based demonstration lessons offered insights into how this process could be replicated or adapted. This study suggested that the model of Thinking Made Visible offered a useful tool in implementing a district’s instructional vision and building teacher capacity.



Teacher capacity, Professional development, Modeling, Balanced literacy