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?
I consider myself pretty athletic. I love to run. I have the shoes, I know the route I take through my neighborhood and feel confident in my ability to run those 2 miles. I wake up in the morning and I’m ready! Now, about this Thanksgiving 10k Turkey Trot my sister wants me to run with her … I’m on the fence. Yes, I have the shoes and know how to run. However, I am a little uneasy about the route. Are there hills? (My neighborhood is flat so I’m not as confident in my ability to run those.) I think I can do it, but I need a little time. I want to see the route. I want to try and run some similar routes and make sure I feel confident. I want to know what it feels like to run for that long and up those hills without stopping.
My other sister is a total athlete. She can run circles around me. She scales mountain walls and is now wanting me to try climbing with her. I am not ready! First of all, there is a lot of equipment that I need and don’t own (i.e. those crazy spikey shoes) and even if I could borrow the shoes, is rock climbing good for me? Will the pressure I put on my knees be worth the physical exercise I get from the climb? I just don’t know enough and I am not confident in my ability to try it … yet. I promise to keep you posted on this one.
Readiness is not stagnant but rather a continuum. People may be at any point along this continuum at any time—and even multiple points depending on the specifics (i.e. so ready to go for my morning run, thinking about the 10k, and not ready to climb that mountain wall).
Where a teacher is along this continuum should help you to determine the type of support you can provide that will best impact a desired outcome. The two common factors that influence teachers’ readiness to change is their knowledge and self-efficacy. Can I do it and do I know how?
Once we have figured out where someone is on this continuum, how do we support them in the most impactful way? Research supports us using the KNOW/SEE/DO approach:
Not ready—Know (learning). Support a teacher in seeing the difference between her current behavior and what more effective behavior looks like. For example, articulate what effective Concept Development looks like. Explain what it means to collaboratively plan and produce something in your classroom with children.
On the fence—See (building awareness). Support teachers in becoming more aware of the difference between current behavior and more effective behavior—and reduce any barriers to change they might be facing. Watch videos of teachers exemplifying effective practice and support them in identifying those interactions and the impact they have on children.
Ready to change—Do (demonstrating). Support teachers in taking action to change their current behavior to a more desired behavior.
So how am I going to get off the fence and get ready for this race two Thursdays from now? Let’s SEE…
In the same way I look at tackling new skills for myself, we can think about supporting educators’ desire and knowledge to improve interactions in their classrooms. For support to be most effective, it should be individualized. Successful differentiation of support includes both diagnosing the readiness to change and reacting to that diagnosis using the research based KNOW/SEE/DO approach. Help teachers to understand and recognize quality interactions and the impact they have on children’s social and academic development so that they are ready to try out new strategies and improve their own interactions.
Get them ready for the race and eventually that mountain.
As coaches, we've all encountered resistant teachers. Resistance to coaching can take many forms. You might encounter a teacher who is direct, making it clear they don't want your help. Or a teacher who is passive, putting off your meetings and recommendations, or acting like they're open to coaching but never actually changing their behavior. While this can be frustrating, you shouldn’t assume the teacher is to blame.
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
Hey, sports fans! Don’t you just love watching your favorite players on a big game day, scoring points and making it all look so easy and effortless?
Of course, we know nothing in sports is really effortless, even for gifted athletes with abundant natural talent. One of my favorite quotes comes from NBA All-Star Kevin Durant: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Intentional, consistent practice is key to any athlete’s success. But 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.
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.