“That could be me!” or “I could do better than him!”: How teachers respond to video of classroom teaching by peers as professional development

Ms Clare Woodward and Mr Malcolm Griffiths | Presentation (PDF)

The Open University



Removing teachers from their schools to undergo extended periods of professional development can be both impractical and ineffectual. This presentation looks at an alternative approach to large-scale professional development which exploits the wide use of mobile phones in Bangladesh. Access to good practice is brought directly to teachers working in their own schools through authentic classroom video delivered via SD cards on teachers’ own mobile phones.

In this model, as developed by the English in Action (EIA) project in Bangladesh, teachers have opportunities to develop their own capacity through applying techniques modelled in the video and mediated by a tutor on the video; they are also able to benefit from peer support in their school and teacher support groups in their local area.

The presentation will explore our rationale for integrating authentic classroom filming alongside video narration as a means of delivering professional development in settings that combine both formal and informal elements.

We chose authentic video because previous experience in the pilot study revealed that teachers were not convinced by pseudo-classroom videos filmed in a studio set using actors. The video shows Bangladeshi teachers of English realistically demonstrating, with their own students, learner-centered communicative language-learning techniques while following the government textbook. The ‘video tutor’ facilitates professional development by introducing each video clip, asking questions and encouraging reflection. Teachers then try out similar techniques in their own classrooms, enhancing their normal practice, but continuing to follow the national curriculum. They share their experiences with a partner in their school and report back on successes and challenges at regular local support group.

The presentation will address the following questions: How do teachers feel about using peer teachers, seen on the mobile, as models? What is the added value of mediation through a video tutor? What impact does handheld video have on building teachers’ capacity and on pedagogy in their classrooms? What practical issues have we encountered in using mobile technology for this model of CPD?

We will draw on a range of narratives from the project: our own experience as members of the team who conceptualized and developed the product, teachers’ voices and an extensive programme of research and evaluation carried out through the EIA project.

EIA is a 9-year UK-Aid funded partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, currently working with 12,500 primary and secondary teachers of English to deliver professional development through low-cost mobile phones. Delivery approaches and materials are continually reviewed and modified through a substantial element of research, monitoring and evaluation, which is integrated into the project design.

Between 2014 and 2017, as the project scales up to work with a further 64,000 teachers across the country, we will have the opportunity to evaluate the potential of mobile phones as a medium for delivering professional development at scale.

We invite the audience to share their own experiences, comments and concerns, especially regarding teachers’ responses to these types of learning approached and on how to design content for mobile-based CPD accordingly.



Clare Woodward is currently a Lecturer in International Teacher Education at the Open University and has been working on the English in Action project since 2009. Her area of expertise is in teacher education, international development and mobile technology as an educational tool.

Clare has previously worked as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher and trainer in South-East Asia and the Middle East, and has managed projects on the use of ICT and social media with disadvantaged communities in the United Kingdom.

Malcolm Griffiths is a Lecturer in Education at the Open University, United Kingdom: since 2010 he has been based with the English in Action project team in Bangladesh. Current areas of work include professional development and support for teachers and teacher educators, development of learning resources, institutionalisation and sustainability.

He has previously worked as a teacher educator and project manager in the areas of initial and in-service teacher education. He has worked on long- term assignments on national-level government sector projects in Afghanistan, Czech Republic and Lithuania, while several shorter-term projects have included China, Egypt, Iraq and Syria


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