If you regularly read this blog, then you probably already know that at Teachstone, we’re big fans of the “strengths-based” coaching approach. What is strengths-based coaching, you ask? In a nutshell, a strengths-based approach intentionally focuses on the things teachers are already doing well in the classroom and encourages them to build on what is working. Another way to describe strengths-based coaching: it’s the opposite of a deficit model, which focuses on what teachers are not doing or what they are doing wrong.
In my conversations with folks in the field—teachers, coaches, administrators at all levels—I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about what strengths-based coaching is—and isn’t. Let’s get it out in the open!
Strengths-Based Coaching is NOT...
Of course, it is always best to establish trusting relationships with the teachers you coach, but the reality is that people in the field are often tasked with providing one-time feedback to teachers. Focusing on areas of strength can help alleviate the natural tensions in those conversations (and support the teacher in being more receptive to the feedback).
Just because you’re focusing on “strengths,” doesn’t mean you can’t give feedback on a dimension that scored a 2 out of 7 on the CLASS measure. It just means that you might intentionally focus on the elements that brought the teacher up from a 1, rather than down from a 7.
If you want to learn more about strengths-based coaching approaches, check out myTeachstone, our latest tool that helps coaches better support their teachers. Better yet, contact us and ask us about myTeachstone and other trainings designed to make coaches and teachers truly shine in their efforts to improve classroom interactions.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.
Even top athletes rely on the support of a coach to improve their game. Players need coaches to help identify their unique strengths and grow their talents while increasing their skills in areas of challenge. To do all this, coaches spend lots of time observing athletes while they practice—giving real-time feedback based on current efforts, breaking skills down as needed to cultivate mastery, and encouraging players to keep trying in pursuit of their goals.
CLASS allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Here are 4 things you should know about using data to improve student outcomes.