I could write a formal post using fancy language, quoting research about coaching if I wanted to, but I choose not to! (There are plenty of those around, just google.)
After much research, including reading, viewing and valuable conversations with experienced coaches, Joc and I have begun to coach teachers. It’s part of an ever evolving approach to professional learning at our school, which includes teacher choice, a focus on growth rather than judgement and a desire to constantly refine and improve our practice.
The content of coaching sessions is confidential, but we regularly reflect on the process and refine it as we go. Most of the teachers being coached are less concerned than we are about confidentiality. One shares her reflections in a meeting, another talks animatedly in the staffroom and a third is blogging about the experience!
Here’s my take on the roles of the coach and the coachee…
I’ve already learned..
- to talk less
- to listen more
- to craft purposeful questions
- the value of collaborative reflection
- to see things through the eyes of the teacher being coached
- that teachers’ goals shift and grow as they see evidence of change in themselves and their learners
- the value of protected time for teachers to reflect and talk about their practice
- that positive relationships contribute to effective coaching
- that effective coaching builds positive relationships
- that teachers’ observations of their own practice are even more powerful than observations by others
- that some teachers are happy to share the process of their growth, not just with other teachers, but with their students too
- that, even in the early stages, coaching can make a dramatic difference to teaching and learning
- that instigating change requires trying something different
- that self-directed learning is the most powerful kind there is
- the power of using data (about yourself as well as your learners) to inform teaching and learning…
Can we replace the old, evaluative model of teacher appraisal with a growth model, based on the coaching process?
Watch this space…