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Take Me out to the Field: Tips for Effective Coaching

05 Jun 2014 by Julie Rand

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:

CLASS Dimension

Indicators +

Behavioral Markers

Parallel Process

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


For more, check out the MyTeachingPartner (MTP) Coaching program. And for more coaching tips, go here and here.

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