AI coaching aligns with a focus on action-oriented professional development and is far from traditional sit-and-get professional development.

How teachers like me can use AI to improve their teaching

An AI coaching process aligns with a focus on action-oriented professional development and is far from traditional sit-and-get professional development

It is easy, as an educator, to get stuck in a rut. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to avoid at some point or another during the school year.

Throughout my 17 years of teaching, I’ve found myself asking questions like, “Is my instruction still engaging and fun?” and “Am I really helping my students become independent thinkers?”

I’ve even found myself feeling hesitant at times to use new technology. It can be time-consuming and, in some cases, intimidating.

That said, when I had an opportunity to try out a new professional learning platform – one that uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help teachers improve their instructional practices – I wanted to push myself and try it out. At the least, it would help me step outside of my comfort zone and take a closer look at my teaching.

Engaging in action-oriented professional development with AI coaching 

My district, Keller Independent School District (ISD), was one of the first districts in the nation to pilot AI Coach by Edthena. Using the platform, teachers are guided by a virtual coach as they reflect on videos of their classroom teaching and work through coaching cycles focused on specific areas of instructional practices. This includes developing goals and strategies for improvement based on teachers’ own self-reflection. 

I’ll admit, I was nervous at first – this process meant I’d have to rewatch myself teaching and then really reflect on that teaching.

However, I soon realized being able to complete this coaching process independently would give me the time and flexibility to gather some real insights about my own practice before I shared them (or my videos) with my coach or colleagues as part of our ongoing professional learning.

The AI Coach process also aligned well with my district’s focus on action-oriented professional development. It’s far from traditional sit-and-get professional development, that’s for sure.

Becoming a more reflective teacher with AI coaching

As I started the AI-powered coaching process, I recorded a 12-minute mini lesson with my 7th graders, making sure my camera captured all of my actions, students, and conversations during the lesson. Since I was the only person who would see the video, I wasn’t worried about a special lesson.

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I then uploaded the video to the AI Coach platform and started the self-reflection process. The virtual coach asked me questions and helped me home in on specific aspects of my practice that I wanted to improve upon, such as managing student behavior and my questioning techniques.

I realized in my mini lesson, which involved a group discussion, that some of my students were getting lost in the shuffle. Seeing this on video reminded me how important it is to stay aware of all of my students’ behaviors and to ask more prompting questions to increase participation and engagement.

Continuous teacher improvement using AI

It is a game-changer getting to see yourself in action, whether it is noticing how often you say certain things, or when you miss prime opportunities for questioning, or when you simply knock a lesson out of the park. Being able to watch myself, and honestly reflect on what I saw, has had such an impact on my teaching.

Of course, it’s possible to record yourself on your phone, but the reflection part is hard to do on your own. Working with the virtual coach, driven by AI to personalize the experience to my learning needs, really made the difference. It provided the extra layer of support I think all teachers can benefit from.

The self-reflections and insights I have garnered through the AI coaching process have already helped me in my lesson planning and delivery. Lessons I have (or feel like I have) taught a million times are now looking different and having a stronger impact on my students. I am more deliberate in what – and how – I teach now. 

The virtual coaching process with the AI-powered coach has also helped me feel more prepared for conferences with my coaches and administrators. I know what I want to discuss with them in terms of my areas of strength and my areas in need of growth. 

My advice for fellow teachers looking to strengthen their practice (and maybe get out of a rut)? Lean on new technology and coaching methods that support your development. Watch yourself and reflect on your practice. And, most importantly, be inspired by moments and opportunities where you can grow as an educator. For me, AI coaching has given me the opportunity to do all of the above as I continually work to be the best educator possible, for both myself and my students.

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