Weekly Coaching Roundup: March 25th, 2019

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

This week we learned what it takes to be a special education coach, how to build a teacher's reflective skills, ways to combat coaching reluctance, and more!

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What It Takes to Be a Special Education Coach

Heather Noncek dives into the unique considerations, focus, goals, and daily life of a specialized coaching position.

"The work of a special education instructional coach is grounded in the same practice as an instructional coach. While there are additional layers upon which we engage with our work, overall it's similar to the way an instructional coach at the building level would use their school's improvement plan to guide their work for the year. We look to collaborate with all teachers in supporting some of our most complex learners."

Say-Mean-Matter in Coaching

Vicki Collet talks about how to shift the focus of a debrief conversation from teaching to student learning.

"I usually use the Say-Mean-Matter protocol to focus on comments students made during the lesson, but it can also be effective when capturing the teacher's role. It is a great tool for drawing out positive insights. With care, it can also be used to focus on less-effective aspects of the lesson."

The Coaching Balance

Steve Barkley explains how power can shift in a peer coaching partnership based on a coach's involvement and provides several practical implications for coaching programs.

"A coach's presence in peer coaching represents the ideal balance of power between teachers and coaches. However, when the coach moves left into mentoring or supervision, the balance begins to tilt left and power becomes more concentrated in the hands of the coach. When the coach moves right into consultation or information gathering, the balance begins to tilt right and power becomes more concentrated in the hands of the teacher."

Coaching Content & Thinking

Cailin Minor breaks down how to build a teacher's reflective skills (with questions that promote reflection) and transfer what they learn into future situations.

"I think building up a teacher's craft in content as well as their thinking is one of the greatest gifts we can give as coaches. I feel like one of the best things I can hear from a teacher is sentiments around, 'Yes, I understand this, I can do this!' and having the teacher follow up by saying 'And not just now, but tomorrow, and every day after that.'"

What If We Were Coaching Flowers?

Alison Newby highlights how listening skills and attitude can help to combat reluctant coachees.

"Have you ever been presented with what I'll call here the 'closed dandelion' type of coachee? . . . Such coachees need time to settle down and relax, are wary of perceived insensitivities, alive to interpreting apparently neutral words as cynicism, and often close in on themselves again with just the slightest excuse. . . . If we do not sense more than the 'closedness' of these uncommunicative 'dandelions', we do ourselves and them a disservice."

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