This week we learned some best practices for all steps in the coaching cycle, honing our "noticing" skills, things administrators should know about instructional coaching, how peer coaching and student-focused instruction improve learning, and more!
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Best Practices for All 3 Steps in the Coaching Cycle
"As instructional coaches, we're often tasked with doing lots of things: planning with teams of teachers, leading committees, giving professional development, and so on. But one of our most important tasks is working with individual teachers during a coaching cycle. By co-planning, co-teaching, modeling lessons, and more, coaches can really help to develop teachers' skills. . . . No matter the coaching model you follow, most present a coaching cycle as three parts: before, during, and after. . . . No matter the coaching model you follow, most present a coaching cycle as three parts: before, during, and after."
"Our intention in coaching is to hone our noticing skills, to make the decision to notice purposefully, to engage our thinking brain in order to pay attention in a cognizant way. . . . As we notice and become curious about what we find, it creates a sense of objectivity and draws attention in a conscious way to specific behaviors that may have been unconscious. As awareness is increased through paying attention, we are able to lead the coachee to new insights through the questions we ask. As we focus attention on these insights, new neural pathways are created in the brain that can be deepened by conscious practice. A new habit can be grown."
No One Can Learn from You If You Believe They Suck
"If you want to be an effective coach, scrutinize the quality of the relationship you have with your clients. Reflect on the assumptions you hold about them. Get honest with yourself about what you think about your clients. . . . We can respect people, and believe in their potential, and appreciate elements of who they are, and care for them—even if some of their teaching or leadership practices are underdeveloped or messed up or even if they are harmful to children. We can."
"Administrators respect the insight instructional coaches share about what is or is not taking place in various learning environments. . . . Administrators know that some of the most talented educators in the world are instructional coaches."
"Peer observation is a powerful tool for teacher learning. . . . The skills we develop as keen observers have broad benefits that can grow into our own classrooms: As we teach, we notice and reflect more on our students than on our own actions. Student-focused instruction is more powerful than teacher-focused instruction. Shifting the focus of a post-observation conversation to what students were doing improves learning – for both students and teachers."
"Having a data chat with your teacher shows him/her where more instruction is needed. By having the conversation and looking at data with the teacher instead of by yourself, you are getting the full picture view. There are many times we are not in the classroom. Therefore, we don't know what the teacher has and has not done. Data chats help create a clear pathway to a healthier teacher-coach relationship and a solid goal for the year."