Weekly Coaching Roundup: Giving Teachers a Voice and Choice in Their Professional Learning

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2020-10 Roundup Header - Teacher Voice

Welcome back to TeachBoost's Coaching Roundup! There's no one-size-fits-all model for professional learning and sit-and-get PD can be brutal for a lot of teachers. That's why we're looking at some ways ICs can give teachers a voice and choice in their professional learning. Enjoy!

PD Boxes: Personalized Learning To-Go

Angela Mckee shares how to use PD boxes to provide personalized professional learning alongside coaching cycle support, and the steps for getting started with your own. 📦

" When my school allowed teachers to choose which PD sessions to attend, we saw greater engagement than when the sessions were mandatory. . . . A teacher begins the professional development process by choosing a topic that's of interest to them. Alternatively, a member of our administration might have recommended a topic for them. I send them a physical PD box to get started, and in our initial coaching session, the teacher develops a goal for the learning cycle."

Coaching Choice Boards

Pam Hubler uses Coaching Choice Boards to empower her teachers in the coaching process and choose their level of support. Find out how she's found success with them.

"Once I understood what my job included, however, it didn't mean teachers in my building knew how to utilize and work with a coach. This is why I decided I needed to create something that would help guide their requests in the right direction! This process really made me think of the services I wanted to focus on as a coach and how to describe them to teachers. . . . Gathering teacher requests via a Google Form means that I'll be able to see all the data for this school year in one place, which I can't wait to see! It will help me to determine which services are needed the most so I can structure my coaching schedule better and better each year."

Teacher PD

Arjana Blazic covers a few ways she personalizes professional learning for teachers through tic-tac-toe, playlists, and coaching menus.

"In most of my technology training workshops there are teachers of different levels of digital competence and it's difficult to find activities that would suit individual needs of each participant. Not only our instruction needs to be differentiated but also teacher professional development shouldn't follow the one-size-doesn't-fit-all approach.

Gamification to Support Professional Learning

Lindsay Zilly created an environment that promotes risk-taking through gamification as a fun alternative to sit-and-get PD.

"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."

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A New Model for PD

Deborah Campbell and Michael McDonough found ways to encourage their teachers' creativity and exploration in professional learning through tic-tac-toe boards as well.

"Most importantly, most of the sessions aren’t formally led by anyone from our leadership team. The sessions allow for teachers to lead, share their expertise, ask questions and guide their own learning. This is the key in our minds: providing the setting for teachers to experience choice and then make a decision. Teachers are professionals and we want our faculty to feel that overtly."

Coaching Choice Board

Kimberly Howard reflects on why Coaching Choice Boards appeal to her and how she might incorporate them into her coaching practice.

"A recent blog post by Pam Hubler has me thoughtfully considering how I want to provide assistance to my teachers. Pam created a coaching choice board that she uses to collect requests for her 'services' to teachers. . . . Next school year is sure to look different due to how COVID-19 has pushed us into a season of quarantine and remote learning. Many of the teachers I serve are now much farther along in their technology integration competency and confidence than ever before. The focus can't be tools, but how technology integration can be a regular part of their pedagogy."

Surveys for Better Coaching (with Examples!)

Amy Rudd uses teacher surveys to help identify goals and discover trends to help create more successful coaching cycles.

"After teachers and the coach begin to make connections and build common experiences together, the coach can then use surveys to foster a deeper relationship. Sending them out by email or one of the many online form tools can be even more useful too. Once a teacher completes a survey, the coach can begin to gather data to look for patterns and trends across multiple teachers or even buildings."

The Important of Choice in PD

Heather Wolpert-Gawron provides five forms of PD that school leaders can offer to give teachers options for their learning.

"Any great school leader understands that providing PD is vital to teaching practice, but it’s important to note that not all professional development is equally effective, and a good number of teachers complain that some mandated PD crosses over into wasted time. . . . If we want to see a measurable impact of PD in the classroom, the only way to guarantee that is to differentiate it."

Bonus: following up with teachers post-PD

Are you looking for some techniques that your peers use to follow up with teachers after PD? If so, check out our most recent Q&A post to learn from six ICs on how they connect with teachers after professional learning sessions. 🙌

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