There is a new study out that suggests that teachers benefit from coaching that has an early and frequent focus on Instructional Support. Bob Pianta and his colleagues looked at teachers in MyTeachingPartner (MTP) Coaching and tried to untangle the effects of different components of the program.
(As a reminder, MTP Coaching consists of a series of 2-week cycles in which a teacher records herself teaching and sends it to her coach. The coach selects three short clips to highlight target dimensions, and the teacher is asked to respond to “prompts” about each clip. The teacher and coach then meet to discuss the responses and plan for the next cycle. Teachers also have access to the CLASS Video Library and are encouraged to watch videos between meeting with their coach. Learn more here.)
To summarize what the researchers found:
In other words, teachers that responded to more Instructional Support prompts made greater gains across Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. Pretty interesting!
This is actually making us rethink how we advise coaches. We typically recommend establishing a solid relationship with teachers by starting with Emotional Support dimensions, and moving to Instructional Support once the relationship is strong. In light of this new research, we’ve had good internal discussions about the pros and cons of moving teachers to focus on Instructional Support earlier in the process, and I can’t say we’ve resolved it yet. Maybe it needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the teacher, the relationship, and the comfort level of the coach. But my colleague, Sheri Crump, said that these findings are in line with her own experience as a director and coach. She emailed me this:
When I was involved in the Early Reading First grants during my Head Start years, we informally observed the positive influences to Emotional Support, and Classroom Organization, even though our coaching efforts focused heavily on improving instructional strategies and child outcomes. We were convinced that we needed to move beyond the old stand-by of focusing on social-emotional issues first before we could even consider academic interventions. Instead, our mantra became that "we need to focus on both!" When children became empowered with new, exciting learning opportunities that really made a difference, the fall-out included a closer relationship with their teachers, and a reduction in major behavior issues. The children had higher language skills, and an increased interest in exploring the classroom.”
How does this research accord with your experiences? Is it “developmentally inappropriate” to start teachers with a focus on Instructional Support?
At Teachstone, our driving vision is to ensure every child experiences life-changing teaching. This mission is why we’re making a commitment to restabilize and improve education for every child, and every educator. And, we know that bringing this commitment to life requires providing education leaders with the support they need to not only face the current challenges, but that will propel towards the future of quality and equity.
Perhaps your school is already fully in person or using hybrid instruction. Or maybe you, like nearly half of the participants in our recent webinar Three Keys to Building a Blueprint for Reopening, are still completely virtual and looking ahead to when staff and students can be together again.
Since 2018, over 10,000 educators and counting have enrolled in a CDA with CLASS® program. That’s a milestone in and of itself. But when you zoom out, it means that tens of thousands of children are now cared for by these professionals. And, when you think of the number of meaningful, high-quality interactions that happen each and every day? It’s not unreasonable to think that there are a hundred thousand or more brain-building moments that happen daily because learners have enrolled in a CDA with CLASS program.
The 2021 InterAct CLASS Summit brought together incredible speakers and practitioners from across the globe. It energized us, emboldened us, and excited us about new opportunities - like myCoach Connect.
myCoach Connect, developed in partnership with Torsh Inc., will transform how you view, receive, and deliver practice-based coaching to teachers in your program. It brings together innovative technology from Torsh with Teachstone’s staff of expert, certified CLASS® coaches to drive program improvement, classroom quality, and student outcomes.