“Show. Don’t tell,” said every writing teacher ever. And just as common was students’ response: “Why?” Whether describing a setting sun or explaining Feedback Loops, I’ve always found it easier to just tell. But I’ve never found it as effective as showing. That’s why I was especially excited to get to spend an hour talking with folks who support teachers’ growth about how to interact with teachers in ways that help show them the kinds of effective interactions we want them to have with kids. We call this kind of showing parallel process. Watch the recording of our webinar to hear more of our conversation.
The lens through which you look is key, because your mentee will feel where you are coming from – whether you state your perspective or not. Whenever I coach, I observe, get a base line, and from there we start to build skills. My frame of reference is that each person is expanding. A while back, Cheri Moring wrote in her blog about a metaphor we have used which says that every teacher has a tool belt and our goal is to put more tools in that tool belt. One teacher may start with 5 tools, another may start with 20, but we are continually building skills, never judging the tool belt for the number of tools it has.
In my last post, I discussed a few misconceptions around strengths-based coaching approaches and borrowed a term coined by the expert coaches on our professional development team here at Teachstone: a “spark” moment. In this post, I’ll interview one of our coaching experts, Rebecca Freedman, to dig into this concept and what it’s all about.
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.
Concept development is one of the most difficult CLASS dimensions to understand—and even harder to explain to others! So, when I saw the children's book What Do You Do With an Idea in the clearance section at my bookstore, I snatched it up. I love how author Kobi Yamada and illustrator Mae Besom depict a child's new, fragile idea as an egg. Throughout the book, you can see how his idea grows (or shrinks) as a result of how his idea is nurtured.
As summer comes to an end, students, teachers, principals, parents, bus drivers, and more are gearing up for the new school year. My Pinterest feed is full of teacher tips, classroom management tips, and bulletin board ideas. But there aren’t as many “listicles” out there for instructional coaches. So, coaches, here is a top 10 list for you! Teachstone bloggers’ top tips for coaching teachers:
The US Women’s Soccer Team coverage brought me back to my own experiences as an athlete in my youth. As I mentioned in my previous blog, it made me think about how the adoption of Title IX in 1972 created opportunities for me and other girls. This mandate created opportunity and changed lives.
In our earliest implementations, when Teachstone was just being formed, we often heard that teachers were caught off guard by CLASS-based professional development. Trainers were hearing questions like “What am I doing here?” “Why was I asked to attend?” and “How does this relate to my other professional growth activities?” We quickly learned that teachers and professional development providers need to be on the same page about goals. Sometimes goals for teacher-child interactions are set at the program level; sometimes they are set for individual teachers. Either way, everyone needs to be clear on what they are reaching for.