Facilitating the use of video with teachers of mathematics: learning from staying with the detail

Alf Coles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
523 Downloads (Pure)


Background: This article is focused on the role of the facilitator in the professional development of mathematics teachers. It is a feature of several frameworks for using video, that teachers are invited to comment on the detail of what they saw and heard, and base comments on evidence from the video. It is also a common finding that it is hard to establish ‘speaking evidentially’ as a way of working and at the same time, such an expectation is seen to be critical to making discussion productive. This article draws on a paradigmatic case of one video club, during which seven teachers met over a three-month period, and shared video recordings of their own classrooms. The group of teachers learn how to focus on the detail of video, avoiding judgment, from the first session. The way this is achieved and what it occasions is analysed, within an enactivist methodology.

Results: The analysis of the first meeting of the video club shows how the facilitator has a focus on the kinds of comments made by teachers as well as their content. If a teacher makes a contribution that is not of the ‘kind’ required within the way of working, the facilitator is observed to: highlight that the participant is not focused on the detail of events and re-direct the group back to the intended task. This sequence of moves is not captured in current frameworks of how to facilitate video discussion. There is a suggestion that it is the very distinction between observation and interpretation or judgment, that is significant for teachers and allows them to re-think their own teaching practices.

Conclusions: This article aims to share awarenesses of the facilitator, concerning how it is possible to focus a group on the detail of events when using video. What the facilitator is doing, in highlighting when a norm has been breached, is making a judgment about the kind of comment made by participants, not judging the comment’s content. The meta-focus of the facilitator seems to allow enabling contraints to be placed on discussion while letting conversation follow the interests of participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of STEM Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019


  • Enactivism
  • Facilitator
  • Judgement
  • Mathematics teacher learning
  • Observation
  • Video


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