December 2017 Instructional Leadership Must-Reads

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Happy Holidays from your friends at TeachBoost! With the last must-reads of the year, we're going to wrap up 2017 strong with articles on some key aspects of mentoring/coaching, listening skills as a coach, navigating change, steps for revamping K-12 professional development, and more. Enjoy!

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The Season of Giving, via PIIC

Two PIIC (Pennyslvania Institute for Instructional Coaching) mentors dive into reflection and listening—two key aspects of mentoring/coaching interactions that help teachers build their own practice.

"While most consider themselves to be effective listeners, many are not perceived that way by others. Mentors are very intentional in being listeners during our time with coaches."

Coaches' Listening Skills, via Barkley PD

Steve Barkley reflects on three listening skills that coaches should focus on to be effective listeners when working with their peers: being present, actively listening, and clarifying.

"I believe that often a coach’s desire to be “helpful” has one looking for a solution or an improvement to move toward and thus missing hearing things that are important to the coachee. This can create an understanding gap. Following the teacher’s thinking can increase the teacher’s reflection and vulnerability leading to insight and growth."

Want to Get Great at Something? Get a Coach (Video), via EdTech

Atul Gawande says if you want to get great at something, get a coach. Instructional coaching guru, Jim Knight, calls this recent TED talk one "every coach will want to see."

Navigating Change: Tips From a Veteran, via Edutopia

A veteran teacher reflects on three significant and unexpected changes experienced teachers may face during their career and how to manage them.

"We veteran teachers can sometimes struggle with change. If something new is coming your way, I invite you to adopt a beginner’s mind and accept the challenge with a fresh perspective and enthusiasm."

Using Third Points for Difficult Conversations, via My Coaches' Couch

Instructional coach, Vicki Collet, expresses her use of a "third point" to ease the tension of a difficult coaching conversations—which can be anything from: student data, lesson plan, or goals.

"People usually value two-point communication—the two points being the two people communicating, looking directly at each other. In professional situations, two-point communication is usually a way to build personal relationships and trust. But in difficult conversations, two-point communication can do just the opposite."

3 Steps to Revamping K-12 Professional Development, via EdTech Magazine

Following up with an ongoing study around PD and the impact, the article asks: "How can administrators do more with that $18,000 per teacher and approximately 24 hours per year of formal professional development time?"—which is the approximate average per instructional leader, per year.

"One relevant session with the right amount of follow-up is worth three without. Much like you can’t measure productivity by looking at the number of hours someone works, you can’t measure the effectiveness of PD by looking at how many sessions someone attends."

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Topics: PD, Must Reads, Questioning Techniques, Listening Skills, Coaching Conversations

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