Coaching With R E S T

My writing partner, Terri Bianco , and I are working on a new book on instructional coaching. We’re writing to provide insight and skills to instructional coaches and to administrators who need to practice instructional coaching directly with teachers and support the work of instructional coaches.We are explaining how the backwards planning process, moving from student achievement to student behaviors to teacher behaviors to leaders’ behaviors, can be used to guide coaching conversations with teachers.

Terri developed an acronym for the process.
R = Result
E = Evidence
S = Student Behavior
T = Teacher Behavior

The result describes the learning outcome, standard, understanding, or achievement you seek (What do you want your students to know or be able to do?). The evidence describes the student performance that would illustrate success (How will you know they learned it?). The student behaviors describe what students will need to do/practice in order to be prepared to produce the evidence (What are the learning behaviors?). Teacher behaviors define how the teacher will elicit the necessary student behaviors (What would best practices suggest or how does “what I know about my students” indicate what is most likely to work?).

In a pre-conference we might hear…

: How does your current student writing compare with the standard that you are seeking to meet? (result and evidence)

Teacher: Most students are responding to the writing prompt by answering a question or creating a list rather than thinking through a message they want to communicate and then planning how to produce that message.

What do you think your students need to do or experience to develop the skills/process for success? (student behaviors)

They need to see and hear the planning/writing process and practice planning rather than jumping to get a piece finished.

Coach: What can you do to get that experience and practice? (teacher behavior)

Teacher: I think I can model a “think aloud” as I respond to a prompt on the board and then have pairs work on planning a writing response together.

Coach: When the pairs are working, what would you want to observe happening? (student behavior)

Students questioning themselves and each other before planning their writing and during their writing.

In a post conference we might hear…

Coach: What did you notice as you observed the pairs during their practice? (student behavior)

Teacher: A few pairs really did a lot of thinking and planning before they wrote and developed better writing pieces. But, too many just did their old behavior of answering the question or listing together, thus their writings are longer but not better quality.

Coach: Yes, I noticed the same thing. What did you do when you stopped at a pair where that was happening? (teacher behavior)

Teacher: I asked them questions to see if I could trigger more thinking.

Coach: That’s what I thought. It seems the students weren’t sure how to question themselves. I’m wondering if you need to more explicitly model the questions you are asking yourself as you do the think aloud. Some pairs may even need question starters… maybe using yours or generating some as a class before they start working as pairs. (teacher behavior)

Instructional coaches can use the same REST process in planning their work with teachers:

Results: What do teachers need to master and implement to increase student achievement?

Evidence: What do current observations of teachers tell us is happening?

Student Behaviors are now Teacher Behaviors—What will teachers have to do and experience to produce the evidence we’re seeking?

Teacher Behaviors are now Coach’s Behaviors—What will I do as coach (model, teach, ask, provide) to create the necessary teacher behavior?
How can I get my principal to help?

Now we need to hear from you to learn the REST of the story…

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