Coaching with the “End in Mind”

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For years, organizations have provided educators, particularly administrators and aspiring coaches, with training on how to coach colleagues and teachers in the classroom.  And yet, the advent of performance-driven educator evaluation practices has driven renewed interest in and requests for tips and strategies that include specific, effective feedback and coaching that give educators sufficient information to actually apply it to enhancing and transforming classroom practice.

Traditional coaching model frameworks and many performance evaluation approaches work to align day-to-day activities with desired outcomes:

  • Assess current performance;
  • Identify gaps or areas for improvement;
  • Develop an action plan to support improved practices;
  • Provide feedback and coaching / training in support of the plan;
  • Monitor progress on the plan and ongoing performance.

Many principals, evaluators and teachers indicate that the true strength of process is in the valuable conversations generated between staff and their supervisors as well as the collaborative efforts and conversations of educators to improve as a whole.

However, evaluators continue to struggle to ensure that their feedback and coaching efforts produce a return on their investment of time and resources that results in improved classroom practice leading to increased student learning.

As I read through an article by Michelle Vazzana and Jason Jordan in the July 2013 Training and Development magazine, “Avoid Sales Coaching Failure”, I was intrigued with the “beginning with the end in mind“ perspective of a coaching model the authors promote for sales coaching that educators might consider for educator performance appraisal (evaluation) and development. The model focuses on aligning desired learning Results with the right learning Objectives and the right learning Activities (ROA) for identification of the alignment of an improvement focus.  These elements can be gleaned the outcomes of classroom observations, student learninIntegrated Coaching Model Graphicg results, for teacher/supervisor conversations or perhaps from evaluation criteria.  The elements can be stated in positive ways approximating specific best practices as the goal.   Cause/effect strategies  such as the “5 Whys” may be helpful in honing in on the right objectives and activities.  Typically, traditional coaching frameworks tend to move straight from Results to Activities skipping the clarifying and therefore critical step of specific learning Objectives. This then, is integrated with an execution coaching model acronym (ARC) which reflects scheduled monitoring of the chosen Activities through Regularly scheduled (referred to in the article and the graphic below as management Rhythm in the form of structured Conversations about the teacher’s efforts to improve their practice and any additional supports needed. There is no easy path to ensuring the coaching conversation turns into enhanced classroom practice and increased student learning. Being more deliberate and predictable in planning for and executing an integrated coaching model may prove less time and resource consuming in the long run.

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Managing Multiple Demands Facing Education

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The national drive to increase student learning through multiple legislative reforms has taxed school and district leadership and teachers to the limit; AND YET, if we figure out how to successfully meet the challenges of committed, capable leadership for public education, we can transform the future of teaching and learning, and build a brighter future for our children.

Q:  What are your strategic leadership secrets that make juggling the multiple reforms of Common Core Standards and Assessments; closing achievement gaps, and evaluating and developing educator performance work?

Good teachers trump small classes

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Australian children could be achieving the same stellar results in international testing as those from Korea and Finland within a generation if educators addressed equity challenges, boosted teacher quality and strengthened discipline, a world-leading education expert said. Education policy adviser to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Andreas Schleicher said too much money had been spent reducing class sizes, instead of boosting teacher performance.

Learning Forward Multibriefs 7/8/13