“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.
Good question! Parallel process is when we interact with teachers in the same ways we expect them to interact with children. It’s a way to show teachers what we mean by things like “contingent response” or “feedback loops” by letting them experience them first hand.
Parallel process can also help us reflect on how we interact with teachers. Even though the CLASS framework focuses on teacher-child interactions, there are many parallels to adult learning; one example comes from research on behavior change that “suggests that people are more likely to make changes when feedback comes from a trusted and respected source.” Isn’t that what Emotional Support is all about? Shouldn’t we also strive to be productive and engaging as we work with teachers? Shouldn’t we be providing feedback that clarifies and extends teachers’ understanding?
If you’re interested in learning about ways to model effective interactions or want to take a fresh look at your own coaching practices, check out our recording of the MyTeachingPartner (MTP) quarterly webinar on parallel process.
It’s been a great year. You have just conducted some professional development trainings for the group of teachers you are coaching. You got the opportunity to visit their classrooms and see them in action, do formal and informal CLASS observations, and had countless coaching conversations. You see that it’s all beginning to click. You have the teachers’ buy-in, and the motivation is high.
Image: Edward Zigler, assisted by Marilyn M. Smith, presents the first CDA Credential to Margaret E. Wright on July 24, 1975, in Washington, DC (Source - Council for Professional Recognition).
For 54 years, Head Start has prepared children for Kindergarten by providing services that foster growth in their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In the words of former President Obama, “For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids, it’s been the start of a better life.”
"I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom.