Baseball season is now in full swing. My husband is outside almost daily helping the children practice their swing and tossing the ball back-and-forth to work on their catching skills. Why do they do this? Practice makes perfect right? What about the coaching? How does that affect the children’s practice? My youngest has a great natural swing; however, it's the coaching behind the swing that's helped him to develop it.
We frequently think about coaching in sports, but what about coaching for teachers? Teachers, like athletes and other professionals, need to have quality coaches supporting their professional development in order to be successful.
So what makes an effective coach? Let’s start with the previous sports analogy. When coaches are working with youth in sports, they strive to teach them about respect, leadership, responsibility, patience, teamwork, and the fundamentals of that sport. In order to do this, the coach must use a parallel process by role modeling each of these qualities. The coach must use respectful interactions, have great leadership capabilities, be responsible, patient, work well with others, and also know the fundamentals of the sport.
Now, let’s look at the same logic for coaching teachers. One goal in coaching teachers is to improve interactions between teachers and children within the classroom. Coaches can help teachers achieve this goal by using parallel processes found in the CLASS tool. Here are a few examples:
Impact on Both Children and Teachers
|Positive Climate||Teacher is able to build relationships with children by engaging in social conversation||Coach is able to build a relationship with teacher by engaging in social conversations||Higher motivation to learn when they feel happy, relaxed, and connected to others|
|Teacher Sensitivity||Teacher acknowledges child’s emotions||Coach acknowledges teachers’ emotions about engaging in professional development||Secure relationships allow for risk taking|
|Productivity||Teacher is well prepared for classroom activities and has all materials prepped||Coach is well prepared for conferences with teachers and has all resources prepped||Increased focus on learning objectives and more effective learning interactions|
|Concept Development||Teacher encourages children to use analysis and reasoning through problem solving||Coach encourages teacher to use analysis and reasoning through problem solving||Increased understanding and ability to apply knowledge to real world experiences|
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us:
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.