Hello everyone. I hope you are keeping safe and well. 2020 has been quite a year. I’ve had the good fortune to continue to work with dedicated teachers and coaches who are persevering and learning new skills despite a year that has been anything but ordinary.
Coaching in an important way that we can provide ongoing support as teachers learn to use evidence-based practices. Coaching helps us get a little bit better every week or every month. The coach and teacher work together through cycles that involve setting goals and writing action plans, focused observation, and opportunities for reflection and feedback. Then, we celebrate our achievements, make new goals, and continue the cycle.
As essential component of effective coaching is high quality feedback. Feedback is the use of observation-based information to provide fact-based comments to increase teachers’ awareness of their teaching practice. The coach then helps the teacher identify what worked and what barriers may get in the way of the use of the teaching practice (i.e., the goal). Feedback is supportive and encouraging as well as constructive. Feedback usually includes a bit of an assignment or what to work on next. It’s all about continuing to improving our teaching practice and help every child learn.
We often think of coaches as ”outside” experts who have particular kinds of experience and expertise. But, coaches can also be our peers. Other teachers are valuable for providing the encouragement we might need to keep working at learning new teaching practices. We can also coach ourselves by being more aware of our teaching, thinking about or reflecting on our teaching and children’s responses, and then coaching ourselves to do even better.
These are just a few thoughts about the innovative practices that you have been learning about as well as the added value of coaching.