I was quite taken aback recently when an intern completing her first semester with a group of young toddlers told me, “My goal when I started the semester was to use more self-talk and parallel talk, but the toddlers are now talking, so that’s no longer needed.”
How to respond? Clearly she assumed that the self- and parallel talk supported language for very young children, and the effectiveness ended there. But that's not really true.
If you’re a Teachstone blog-reader, you may have noticed that we focus on being “strengths-based” instructional coaching all the time. But sometimes it’s equally healthy to reflect on the stuff that didn’t go so well so we can avoid it next time. (By the way, if you’re looking for something purely strengths-based, Gina Gates recently wrote this fantastic post for the myTeachstone blog on ways to support resistant teachers using an online platform.)
This post is about what not to do. These are the seven deadly sins of taking teacher learning online:
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. I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she shares that several children need her assistance, she’s got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped. She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS Observer was in her room last week, and she just doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard.
So far, we have looked at how the look-for text and the CLASS language charts can support teacher learning. For part 3 of this series, let’s examine how the reflective questions in myTeachstone can encourage teacher engagement and reflection.
Last time we looked at how coaches can use the look-for text to focus teacher attention on specific learning objectives. In this post, we’ll consider ways to use the charts in promoting teacher learning.
Effective coaches support different teachers in different ways. One way coaches individualize their support is by differing their coaching based on teachers’ readiness to change. Research suggests that it is a combination of a teacher’s subject knowledge and receptivity to feedback that contribute to this ‘readiness.’ So how do we know where our teachers are on this readiness continuum and how do we react to that knowledge?
Teachers, like all of us, have a limited bank of time and attention. So, it should come as no surprise if they sometimes lose focus on what matters most for kids: interactions.
Teachers don’t lose focus because they don’t want to have positive interactions with children. I’ve yet to meet a teacher who didn’t want to be a positive force in kids’ lives.
But think about the teachers you know. How do they spend their time? How many different things are they asked to attend to in the classroom? Limited time and an excess of competing demands are real barriers for the teachers you support.
We all know that coaches and teachers have many time constraints when working to provide high quality care for young children. We designed myTeachstone to help address time issues by providing numerous and varied resources on effective interactions that allow for meaningful professional development with less face-to-face time.
At our 2016 InterAct CLASS Summit, we asked a group of educators to share their biggest difficulties in implementing professional development within their organizations. Despite the group’s diverse backgrounds, they reported similar challenges:
Uneven teacher skill sets
Planning and logistics
We're excited to introduce the third post in ourfour-post series discussing strategies to help with these common challenges.
Are you a Coach that's new to myTeachstone? Maybe you've been coaching with myTeachstone but want to learn more. Check out our
new myTeachstone Webinar for a refresher. Hosted by Teachstone Product Manager, Emily Doyle, the webinar covers myTeachstone's roots in CLASS, Coaching Principles, Resources & Creative Solutions for Coaches, and more.