A way of being…

In my coaching with Z, it’s interesting for me to notice the interplay between the three layers; our coaching conversations, the meetings she leads for teams of teachers in her school, and the teaching and learning in their classrooms. The eight cultural forces are at play in all three layers and these reflective questions might influence both culture and way of being, as a coach, a leader or a teacher…

Language

What sorts of questions will encourage and invite thinking? How will our choice of language clarify, provoke and lead to action?

Interactions

How might the tone of our interactions influence the outcomes? How will we build relationships on the basis of trust, empathy and non judgment?

Routines

How might we build in routines that encourage creative and critical thinking and support different perspectives? How might tools and protocols be used to scaffold thinking?

Time

How might we ensure time for thinking? How might we use time productively based on what we notice?

Expectations

How might we create clarity around future outcomes and goals? How might we establish clear beliefs that influence our efforts towards desired goals?

Modelling

What kinds of values might we model, consciously and unconsciously, through our actions and words? How might we model techniques, processes and strategies that might be transferred to other contexts?

Opportunities

How might we create the conditions for thinking, learning and change? How might we notice opportunities for growth?

Environment

How might we create an emotionally safe space where authenticity, honesty, vulnerability and courage can live? 

Contemplations on coaching #3

Encouraging reflective practice…

What’s your current reality? Where would you place yourself on a scale of 1-10? What’s already going well? What might take you up a notch or two? So what?

This is a coaching tool that works from the perspective of appreciative inquiry and encourages a strength based focus. The emphasis is on recognising positives and then deciding on the next step, rather than seeking perfection and feeling inadequate because it’s not achievable. The ‘so that…’ means that the purpose and outcome of the goal have been considered and identified.

How might you utilise this approach as a teacher to encourage self assessment and goal setting in students, perhaps alongside success criteria in the form of ‘I can’ statements?

How might you utilise the approach as a leader, to encourage reflective practice in teachers, perhaps supported by your articulated beliefs about learning?

How might you use the approach as a workshop leader or presenter to encourage participants to reflect and consider action they will take as a result of their learning from your session?

Below are some goals shared during my workshop at the Toddle planning meetup yesterday:

  • ‘I will start with the child before considering last year’s planner, so that we can create more responsive and authentically differentiated units’
  • ‘I will change my plans as students respond so that they can see more of their curiosity represented in learning engagements.’
  • ‘I will use the two questions- What has been revealed? How might we respond? to support greater responsiveness to our students as we plan for our teaching and learning’
  • I will find times in our PLCs for revisiting the unit planner so that reflection is more organic.

It’s an effective model to use with others, but also for personal reflection. What are my strengths? What am I proud of? What is one thing that I might do next? So what?

CONTEMPLATIONS ON COACHING #2

Contemplations on coaching #1

Coaching provides a quiet space to think aloud, without the peripheral noise usually going on in one’s head.

In my up-skilling session with Di, I notice the familiar elements of coaching practice as well as the style and skills of the coach, intertwined with my own reflections about who I am as a person, an educator and a coach. What are my strengths? What am I comfortable with? Where do I want to go? How might I move forward? What might my next steps be?

The parallels in good teaching practice are apparent! A responsive, ‘assessment capable,‘ teacher is essentially a growth coach. They notice, without judgement, what’s been revealed and consider how best to respond in order to support the learner to progress.

A self-determined, ‘assessment capable‘ learner is both a coachee, guided by the thoughtful, intentional questions of the coach/teacher and a self-coach, making agentic decisions that drive their learning forward. What are their strengths? What are they comfortable with? Where do they want to go? How might they move forward? What might their next steps be?

A reflective teacher, ever seeking to develop their practice, might well ask themselves the same questions.

Applying solution focus coaching tools to a shared problem…

When I was 12, there was a gang leader in my class. She was clever, pretty and powerful and if you weren’t in her group, you were no-one. Her followers were highly trained in the art of excluding others and making them feel worthless.

Not much has changed in the world of school, but bullying has been amplified by social media. I can only imagine what life for us nobodies would have been like, if  the powerful leader and her gang had been able to post photos of us on Snapchat and multiply the nastiness via a Whatsapp group from which we were excluded. 

It’s only too easy to lament the tragedy of it all, blame the children, their parents, ourselves and especially technology. Instead we need to:

Commit to the change we want to see.

Are we prepared to take action? What’s a good name for the project? – Platform

Articulate the desired outcome in detail.

Imagine the culture we’d like to cultivate. What will it look like? What will be noticeable?  What will others see? – Future Perfect

Reflect on where we are now.

What would take us up a notch or two? What would the first tiny signs of progress be?  – Scale

Notice what is already happening.

Gather data from kids, teachers and parents. What’s going well? What successes have there been? How were they achieved? – Counters

Decide what action to take.

What small steps will we take? What specific and concrete steps will propel us forward? – Small Actions

We might name our project ‘ Increasing a culture of kindness’. Do you have ideas to share? What’s working at your school?

Thanks @annettegci. You can see the immediate impact of your Solution Focus Master Class extending beyond coaching…

Solution focus tools – Mark McKergrow

How do you listen?

Are you a good listener?

 

Do you nod and say ‘aha’ while thinking about something else? Do you make connections to your own life and hijack the conversation? Or do you really listen? Do you wait, ask clarifying questions, show genuine interest and thoughtfully consider your responses?

We explore these options as part of the GCI  Coaching Accreditation Course and I wonder briefly whether the presenters and participants think I’m not really listening, since my laptop is open and at any given time they might see Twitter, Google, Amazon or Youtube on my screen. Almost everyone else is taking notes with pen and paper.

I check with the world, and I appreciate the clarifying response from @CmunroOz:

Having just spent a week learning with @langwitches, I’m even more aware of the value of documentation, not just OF learning, but FOR learning.

I’m recording the learning, for myself, for others at my school… and for a global community of educators with and from whom I constantly learn. The documentation of today’s learning via my Twitter stream will be read by people whom I know in person, people I connect with online… and people I don’t know exist. (I might never know what they learned from my sharing!)

As the presenters speak, I distil the essence, documenting the big ideas via tweets. If a book is mentioned, I find the link and add that to the stream. As we go along, I Google the big names mentioned, make connections, share the video clips and add my own thoughts. If others in the room were doing the same, we’d be sharing the responsibility of documenting collaboratively.

At the end of the workshop, all the tweets, thoughts and links are collated into a Storify to which I (and you!) can refer later. It’s documentation OF and FOR learning – my own, that of my colleagues… and whom ever out there in the world is listening.

How do you listen?