This week we learned five ways to become a better listener, why celebrating wins and shared goal progress cultivates a culture of learning, how to identify a focus for coaching cycles via kick-off meetings, and more. Enjoy!
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Celebrating Wins and Shared Goals
Sherry St. Clair shares a few tactics that leaders can use to praise individual and shared goal progress to help cultivate a culture of learning. 🎉
"Reiterate goals in staff meetings, and let them inform all professional learning. Identify early progress indicators towards meeting each goal and track progress, offering additional instructional support to teachers as needed. . . . Giving teachers the opportunity to publicly shine a light on their peers' growth is a strong trust- and relationship-builder."
Establishing Teacher-Coach Relationships
Jennifer D. Pierce overviews three alliance-building strategies that therapists use that ICs can practice with their coachees.
"Positive relationships serve as the foundation for all the work coaches conduct with teachers. That is, when positive relationships are in place, teachers are primed to be observed by their coach, to see their coach model how to implement a practice, and to receive positive and corrective feedback on their teaching."
It's Time to Put Our Egos Aside
Steve Barkley explores the idea of "confident humility" and why ICs and teachers should focus on it.
"A difficulty coaches sometimes face is personalizing a teacher's rejection of our suggested approach or even of the school's required approach. A bruised ego interferes with a coach's ability to keep the teacher engaged in thinking. . . . Continuous teacher growth requires teachers to be vulnerable and risk discovering that their current practice can be improved."
How to Engage in a Kick-Off Meeting
Kristin Houser provides five coaching moves that lay the foundation for an upcoming coaching cycle.
"The primary purpose of a coaching kick-off meeting is to identify a focus for your upcoming coaching cycle with a teacher, familiarize your coachee with the logistics of the cycle and give them the opportunity to ask clarifying questions or express any concerns."
Retaining Coaches and Sustaining Programs
Sharon Thomas encourages leaders to be visible and keep an ear to the ground to create environments where educators love to work and feel appreciated.
"But because the kinds of tasks that go into keeping employees happy and fulfilled aren't 'event based' or typically tied to specific things on a calendar, they are often neglected. Not working actively to continuously improve work environments and programs means that those things decline. That neglect may be understandable, especially in schools (where children are the driving focus), but to ensure that the adults in the building are doing the best possible work for those children, leaders need to have adults as their focus, too."
The Coaching Calendar
Stephanie Affinito highlights two systems ICs can implement to keep track of their personal and professional relationships. 🗓️
"In coaching, relationships are everything. We cannot collaborate with teachers around our instructional practices unless we connect with them first. . . . I use the calendar for one reason and one reason only: to document the connections I’ve made with teachers. I'll note personal emails I've sent, formal and informal conversations I've had and any other points of contact. This way, I can easily see which teachers I tend to connect with most often and which teachers I need to make a better effort to reach."
The Art of Listening
Nicole Turner offers seven tricks that help improve your active listening skillset. 👂
"Being a good listener shows that we respect our teachers. When we give them equal talk time in a conversation, they know that we value their perspective. . . . Your goal should not be to provide the answer but to help the teacher sort through the facts and arrive at a solution together. If you go in with this mindset you'll be more likely to ask questions, to wonder, and to be creative. The teacher will feel comfortable sharing her own ideas."
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