I recently worked in three Oregon School Districts as they invested in professional development to maximize the value of coaching programs.
The following piece from Joellen Killion in the Winter 2007 (Vol 28,No 1) illustrates the importance of training coaches.
In Corvallis, Oregon, school administrators and literacy coaches collaborated during two professional development days on coaching. The district is implementing a new teacher evaluation system based on Charlotte Danielson’s Framework and expanding literacy coaching. Substantial conversations examined the roles of administrators as evaluators, supervisors, mentors, and coaches as well as what the communication flow between coach and administrator should be. “How do we combine confidentiality, awareness, and support for maximum teacher growth?”Facilitating the Lebanon and Corvallis sessions, I was reminded of the value of teachers and administrators learning together. Critical conversations emerged that are often missed when receiving the same training separately.
Salem Keizer School District extended its commitment to instructional coaching adding new coaches at additional schools. New coaches completed the first two of eight days of coaching conferencing training that will be provided by Performance Learning Systems. In addition coaches are scheduled for ½ day of training weekly throughout the year. The principals at the schools that are adding coaches attended a session where we focused on “how to introduce coaches and coaching to their faculties.” Several of these administrators agreed that they would be the first to model vulnerability by asking the coach to publicly coach them either teaching in a classroom or conducting a faculty activity.
To build in system capacity, five experienced coaches, who assisted in the training I conducted, are preparing to be the trainers for future new coaching cadres. The experienced coaches provided great encouragement and insights to the new coaches as well as to the principals who are new to working with a building level coach. Salem Keizer coaches have a website and list serve to support each other- http://www.coachtogether.net/. As an added component to creating the coaching culture, Salem Keizer offers a three day coaching course for teachers. Participants learn skills for peer coaching and are prepared to capitalize on the availability of an instructional coach in their building.
September 24th, 2008 at 11:13 pm
One of the things these three districts have in common related to coaching (along with many others) is the use of data-based observations and the eCOVE Software.
I’m the retired (ha!) director of the Willamette University School of Education and the developer of the Data-Based Observation Model and the optional eCOVE Classroom Observation Software. So much for retirement 🙂
Coaches use eCOVE in collaboration with teachers by first asking “What do you want to know about your classroom?” This conversation can be guided by district or building goals or standards (such as the Framework for Teaching). Once the appropriate data tools have been identified, the coach observes the classroom and gathers the objective duration (timers) and frequency (counter) data, without making judgments about the quality. The data collection tools include such things as Class Learning Time, Time on Task, Teacher Talk, Level of Questions (Bloom’s), Wait Time, Response to Misbehavior, Student Response Type and many, many more.
In the post conference, the data is presented to the teacher with the question “Is this what you thought was happening in your classroom?” This empowers the teacher to reflect on the data and classroom activity, without shifting to a defensive or deflective mode.
The next question asked is “Do you think a change is needed? If so, what will you change? How can I support you?” Again, the teacher is empowered to be in control of the process with the coach taking the guiding and supporting role.
The final question is “When should the data be gathered to see if your change worked?” Since the process is not one of pleasing the observer, the data on teacher and/or student behaviors can be used by the teacher to determine success or the need for additional change.
All this results in the development of reflective teachers and creates the self-directed professional growth we all desire. The process treats the teacher as a respected and capable professional. The coaches play a very important role in this process by being the non-evaluative collaborative peer.
More of my thoughts are on my blog, Data-Based Classroom Observation. Feel free to download the software on my website, eCOVE Software. And I’d be thrilled to discuss this model with anyone!
John Tenny, Ph.D.
February 8th, 2012 at 4:34 pm
When getting a teacher evaluation, a lot of things need to be considered. If there’s a classroom observation or classroom walkthrough software involved, then that’s great. they can really help the class and teacher. It’s a good idea and thing to do. You just have to make sure they’re reliable (like the link I gave)