Brophy Using Video in Teacher Education Discussion

Brophy, J. (2004). Discussion. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Using video in teacher education (pp. 287 - 304). New York: Elsevier.


  • " in its various forms is a technology for delivering content, not a body of content in itself (p. 287)."
  • "...teacher educators are drawn to video because its affordances make it uniquely valuable for conveying the complexity and subtlety of classroom teaching as it occurs in real time, with a richness and immediacy that written descriptions or transcripts cannot match (p. 287)."
  • The decision about when and how to use video is dependent upon the teacher education program. The limitation of the lens through which a video is viewed (limited focus) is comparable to an edited text. (Everything has a point of view).
  • "...videos need to be selected or developed with particular curricular goals (intended learning outcomes) in mind, and learners' use of the videos needs to be scaffolded accordingly (p. 288)."
  • Video can and should be differentiated to meet the developmental levels of the participants as well as the curricular goals of the program. (Ex. Video for novices or marginal teachers would focus on best practice whereas video for experienced teachers who are not marginal would focus on decision-making and deepening reflective abilities (inquiry stance?)).
  • "Assuming sufficient clarity to enable viewers to see and hear what they need to see and hear without difficulty, their reactions to classroom videos typically depend less on the artistic touches and 'professional' quality of the videos than on the degree to which the teaching strikes them as realistic and relevant to their agendas (p. 289)."
  • Reasons for viewing video of own teaching: "This creates exciting possibilities but also carries the potential for anxiety and defensiveness in the taped teacher (even if viewing alone or only with a supportive supervisor), as well as distorted group dynamics and inhibitions on spontaneity of discussion when the teacher is included in a group viewing the tape (p. 289)."
  • "When developers attempted to get viewers (especially novices) to engage in self-regulated inquiry into their own self-generated questions, they typically found that the viewers' experiences with the videos needed to be structured and scaffolded to support their attainment of intended learning outcomes (p. 290)."

Contributions to the Wisdom of Practice

Making Video for Use in Teacher Education and Professional Development

  • Video, like classroom observation, needs to be focused in order to support learning.
  • Supplemental materials that adequately describe the context should accompany the videos.
  • "If the videos are to be used with novices or struggling teachers, it will be helpful to provide opportunities for viewers to see improvement over time or observe teachers at different levels of experience and expertise, both to convey a sense of stages in development toward best practice and to support viewers' confidence that they can attain best practice levels themselves eventually (p. 295)."

Using the Video to Support Teacher Education or Professional Development

  • "Several authors noted that having teachers assume the student role or work with student data is especially effective in preparing them to view videos profitably and motivating them to make adjustments in their practice (i.e. from teacher-centered to student-centered approaches) (p. 296)."
  • Viewer preparation activities that convey context accompany video cases and scaffolded discussions follow.
  • Criss-crossing is viewing the same video several times but through different lenses each time.
  • Collegial learning communities are essential when viewing video and must be established.

Affordances of Video and Related Technologies for Teacher Education Purposes

  • "Teachers have to respond immediately to whatever happens as they teach, but video viewers enjoy the luxury of time for reflection, analysis, and consideration of alternative strategies. Thus, video affords opportunities for developing propositional and conditional knowledge about teaching, not just procedural knowledge (p. 299)."
  • Video is a permanent record.
  • Video creates common observational experiences without being obtrusive.
  • Video is a lasting record that can be revisited over time.

Limitations and Qualifications on the Use of Video in Teacher Education

  • "Several authors noted that video is a technology, not a curriculum, so that if they are to be used effectively as teacher education tools, both videos themselves and the learning activities in which they are embedded must be selected or developed with specific learning goals in mind (p. 301)."
  • "They (some authors) eventually concluded that learners needed to be taught ow to exploit the affordances of video technology, and that their experiences with videos needed to be structured and scaffolded to support their attainment of specific learning goals (p. 302)."
  • "Many also noted that participants tend to react primarily judgmentally to videos at first, characterizing the taped teachers' general performance or specific decisions as either good or bad. Facilitators need to shift the group's focus away from these generic ad judgmental responses and toward more analytic discussion of the trade-offs embedded in alternative ways of responding to the depicted situations (p. 303)."



  • Good, T., & Brophy, J. (2003). Looking in classrooms (9th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Ladewski, B. (1996). Interactive multimedia learning environments for teacher education: Comparing and contrasting four systems. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 15,  173-197.