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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

Refining Your Practice Through Video Analysis: A Journey of Self-discovery (Episode 3)

Hello There!

Welcome to the third episode of our four-part series exploring the exciting and insightful process of video observation for teachers. In the first episode, we discussed the preliminary preparations necessary for a successful video recording session. Following by the second episode exploring the cringe moments of watching yourself teach. Today, we're taking a leap forward - you've pressed "record," the teaching has happened, and now you're sitting with your recorded footage. But how exactly should you approach the analysis of this footage?

In this article, we'll explore two non-evaluative observation techniques that offer a structured and reflective path to analyzing your teaching footage: the See, Think, Wonder (STW) and the Noticing, Wondering, Appreciating (NWA) routines.

See, Think, Wonder (STW)

Origin and Purpose

Developed as part of Harvard's Project Zero, the "See, Think, Wonder" routine is a simple yet powerful framework that encourages deep thinking and curiosity. Initially crafted for enhancing art education, this strategy has proven its efficacy across various fields, including the realm of professional development in education.

In the context of analyzing teaching videos, the STW routine facilitates the viewing of classroom activities with an objective lens, thus preventing early judgment and promoting curiosity-driven exploration.

Steps, Strategies, and Questions

1. SEE: Rewatch your video recording, focusing on the facts and events. Take note of what is happening, the interaction patterns, and classroom dynamics. The goal is not to judge but to simply observe and note down what you see.

Questions to ask include:

  • What interactions do I see taking place?

  • How are students reacting to different teaching strategies?

  • What teaching methods am I using?

2. THINK: Reflect on what you've observed. Interpret and make hypotheses about why certain things happened the way they did.

Questions to ponder over:

  • Why might the students have reacted in the way they did?

  • What could have prompted a particular behavior or reaction?

  • How might different teaching strategies have affected student engagement?

3. WONDER: The final step is to raise questions about what you still wonder.

Ask yourself:

  • What would happen if I change this specific teaching strategy?

  • How might the student's reaction change if I modify this interaction?

Here is an example of a completed See, Think, Wonder video observation

Remember, this isn't a routine to critique but rather to open the mind to new ways of understanding your teaching style and strategies.


  1. Foundation on Observation: The initial stage of "Seeing" requires factual and descriptive observations, ensuring a grounded and unembellished foundation.

  2. Analytical Depth: "Thinking" allows for a nuanced interpretation, encouraging teachers to explore underlying patterns, meanings, or causes in their observations.

  3. Curiosity Cultivation: The "Wonder" phase encourages a questioning mindset, fostering ongoing exploration and continuous learning.


  1. Risk of Subjectivity: During the "Think" phase, there’s a potential risk of biases or subjectivity infiltrating the interpretation process. To minimize bias: 1) Always question your interpretations, 2) Ask a colleague to examine your video observation and analysis, 3) Triangulate your interpretations with different kinds of data (not relying solely on video observations)

  2. Potential Overemphasis on Problem-Solving: While questioning is valuable, the "Wonder" stage could potentially lean too heavily towards identifying problems or gaps, possibly overlooking areas of strength or success.

Noticing, Wondering, Appreciating (NWA)

Origin and Purpose

While the Noticing, Wondering, Appreciating routine doesn't have a clear-cut origin as the STW routine, it's largely based on the principles of reflective practice – a method of professional development where teachers critically analyze their actions in the classroom. The NWA routine encourages a positive, comprehensive approach to self-analysis, highlighting strengths while opening up areas of growth


Steps, Strategies, and Questions

1. NOTICING: Begin by noticing elements in your video. These can be patterns, interactions, strategies, student reactions, or anything else that stands out.

Ask yourself:

  • What patterns am I noticing in my teaching?

  • What stands out about my interaction with students?

2. WONDERING: This step involves raising questions about things you've noticed. This could lead to potential areas of change or improvement.


  • I wonder why I chose to respond that way?

  • I wonder how the students would react if I changed this aspect of my teaching?

3. APPRECIATING: Lastly, acknowledge and appreciate what you did well. This isn't merely about being self-congratulatory; it's about recognizing and reinforcing effective strategies and behaviors.

Reflect on:

  • What am I proud of in this video?

  • What worked well and why?

Through this routine, you can cultivate a constructive and appreciative perspective towards your teaching practice.

Here is an example of a Noticing, Wondering, and Appreciating chart for a video observation:


  1. Holistic Perspective: Incorporating "Appreciation" offers a more rounded view, encouraging recognition of positive aspects and successes.

  2. Encouragement of Positivity: The "Appreciating" phase nurtures a positive mindset, fostering motivation and encouraging continued growth and improvement.

  3. Balanced Analysis: By combining noticing with wondering and appreciation, NWA promotes a balanced reflection, mitigating the risk of over-focusing on challenges or areas of improvement.


  1. Possibility of Complacency: A strong focus on appreciation could potentially lead to complacency, diminishing the emphasis on critical analysis and improvement.

  2. Risk of Overlooking Issues: While focusing on positive aspects, there might be a tendency to gloss over or not adequately address areas needing improvement or refinement.

Both STW and NWA offer distinct pathways to enrich the reflective practices of educators. They each harbor unique strengths, with STW leaning more towards a detailed, problem-solving approach and NWA promoting a balanced and appreciative reflection. Choosing between these models depends on your individual objectives and needs. Ultimately, the integration of these non-evaluative observation techniques signifies a step towards a more reflective and effective teaching practice, driving continuous growth and improvement in the educational journey.

In our next and final episode, we'll explore how to apply these insights to your teaching practice for professional development.

Stay tuned for our concluding episode in this exciting journey of self-discovery and improvement.

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