Weekly Coaching Roundup, Week 50: December 13, 2019

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Weekly Coaching Roundup - December 2019 (Half) (Seasonal)

This week we learned about a few key components that are necessary for effective instructional coaching, how one coach found a fun way to promote risk-taking through gamification, the flexibility of "un-conferences" as a way for teachers to collaborate professionally, and more. Enjoy!

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Gamification to Support Professional Learning

Lindsay Zilly created an environment that promotes risk-taking through gamification as a fun alternative to standard professional development.

"Teachers respond well to personalized PD sessions that are authentic and relevant, so it made sense to create bite-sized opportunities for educators to learn at their own pace. Learning about something of interest to them made the experience more engaging and memorable. Gamification games made learning more fun and added an element of competition that encouraged all teachers to find a way to participate at a level they felt comfortable with."

Seven Success Factors for Great Instructional Coaching

Jim Knight and Matthew Kelly identify some key components that are crucial for effective instructional coaching.

"While every coaching situation presents unique challenges, an established process for guiding the coaching experience ensures that instructional coaches have all the tools they need to help teachers set and achieve their goals. . . . At the most fundamental level, coaches will struggle if their principles don't believe in coaching or professional development."

Change is Voluntary, Not Compulsory

Ellen Eisenberg suggests that coaching is most powerful when teachers reflect on their own practice and have coaches who can support them through ongoing relationships and conversations.

"Instructional Coaching doesn't work if it is a mandated directive. . . . Coaching works most effectively when teachers recognize where their strengths are, and which skills need to be strengthened. That recognition comes through reflection; that reflection creates change."

How Teachers Can Learn From One Another

Michael Godsey shares the flexibility of "un-conferences" as a way for teachers to collaborate professionally on their own time and how to get started.

"Unconferences lack a formal hierarchy and the space is open for different people to be heard and appreciated regardless of where they came from. . . . Because unconferences are unscripted by nature, it's relatively easy to participate, or even start one of your own, at whatever size is best for you. Even if you send out a group email for people to meet at a coffee shop on a particular afternoon, you're technically starting an unconference. If you're looking for something more formal, the same kind of gathering can take place at a school site, ideally one with Wi-Fi and at least a few accessible classrooms."

Planning Questions for Coaching Conferencing and PLC Facilitation

Steve Barkley promotes the "Questioning for Learning" framework as a way for coaches to prepare for meetings, PD sessions, and more.

"Questions from perception, induction, analysis, and same/different work together to help gather information. When approaching or experiencing something new, these questions set the stage for exploring deeper. . . . I consciously turn to the Questions for Learning framework to preplan some of the questions I will use in an upcoming coaching session, facilitation, or PD workshop. Having a few anchor questions prepared allows me to be a better listener and thus increase the personalization of the process."

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