Instructional Coaching Highlights

I just finished a great day of learning with coaches and administrators from Ankeny, Iowa and surrounding school districts. The participants were tweeting at #iacoaches2013. I found it interesting during small group discussion times to check the comments they were sharing as a way of understanding what in my presentation was striking a cord or raising a concern. 

Here are some of their tweets with my extended comments:

 Debra@debcale   Do teachers, instructional coaches and building admins have common definition of student achievement?#iacoaches2013
Agreement defining student learning outcomes (vision) builds trust and focus among the leadership team at a school. An administrator can build increased shared leadership knowing that time the coach spends with teachers and decisions made in PLCs will focus on the shared, desired result. As a teacher I can make myself more vulnerable and open to my coach when I am aware that she wants the same outcomes for my students as I do. A frequent re-examination of crucial student achievement goals and the student and teacher behaviors likely to achieve them keep the coach and administrative team connected.



 Mark Stallman: Educators work in an experimental field. Teaching is not a trade. #iacoaches2013
I suggest that if you were coaching skills in a trade the focus would be on learning the right way to do something (X-ray technician).  After the coaching the client would be ready to complete the work the “right way”.  Because teaching is a profession our coaching is supporting the teacher to develop skills and strategies used in experimenting with learners to identify what works. I believe that coaching professionals is a more complex task. Some teachers want to approach teaching as a trade. They are the ones that state, “Just tell me what to do.”



 Annalise Kitchen  #iacoaches2013 Are we modeling the model and walking the talk? Are we comfortable with criticism to benefit students? #actionaccountability
Modeling what it means to be “coachable” is just as important to modeling how to coach. I heard several coach/principal teams in the session creating plans for coaching each other publicly for teachers to observe. One strategy is for the principal to observe and coach a coach’s modeling activity while the classroom teacher watches.

 Katie Claeys  @katieclaeys We study data until we discover something that makes us uncomfortable. Then we create an action plan. – #iacoaches2013

When examining teachers’ work in PLC’s, I identified that ACTION was a motivating force in gaining teacher participation. Many teachers have shared frustration regarding meetings with no tangible outcomes. [Disaggregating the data only to have disaggregated data]. Once a teacher identifies with the coach that student achievement is insufficient, the stage is set for teacher study with coach’s support to positively impact a very particular student need. Discomfort provides the motivation for change.


Michelle Lettington @mlettington  Teaching is a team sport! Collegial relationships are key! What is your culture? #iacoaches2013

Teamwork and collegiality rarely happen by accident. Very conscious efforts from leaders help build a sense of team. When PLC conversations and peer coaching among teachers focus on each student’s success being the responsibility of everyone, a common mission is set. When teachers observe each other’s commitment to students, trust is built that is key to continued team work. The coach/principal partnership is an important example for teachers to witness.
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Steve Barkley

For the past 30 years, Steve has served as a consultant to school districts, teacher organizations, state departments of education, and colleges and universities nationally and internationally, facilitating the changes necessary for them to reach students and successfully prepare them for the 21st century. Read more…

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