Credit:Registration desk sign by NHS Confederation, License CC BY 2.0
Knight presents eight components of instructional coaching: Enroll, Identify, Explain, Model, Observe, Refine and Reflect. Rather than expanding on each component as per the book, in this post I will reflect on the first and how it relates to my job as elementary digital learning facilitator.
It would be very useful for me to use all five of the methods of enrollment. It is important for me to conduct one-on-one interviews with each teacher to develop a relationship with her, to explain my role with respect to instructional coaching, and to find out specifics about her classroom and the needs of her students. The one-on-one interview seems a good opportunity to set the stage for how I will work with the teacher throughout the year; she can better understand what I have to offer her and I can learn about what our partnership may look like. I think that it is important to meet with each teacher at the beginning of the school year, after he/she has had some time to get to know the students; if timing is an issue, I will concentrate on new teachers. Knight suggests that 15 minutes interviews are beneficial but a longer meeting of 45 minutes – 1 hour are most effective.
I usually attend team meetings once in every six days cycle. I’ve been struggling with how to make an effective contribution to team meetings that I attend. This chapter encourages me to use 20 minutes at team meetings for sharing opportunities for professional growth, for clarifying my role as a partner, to explain other relevant issues to instructional coaching, and to determine who would like to work further with me (possibly through Google Forms). I need to think further about how frequently this could happen; the chapter presents 20 minutes as a short amount of time but that’s 1/3 of each planning meeting.
I have large group presentations several times a year. I am usually tasked with providing professional development for teachers and teacher assistants during that time. It may be a good idea for me to focus on particular teaching strategies, employing technology in the process, allowing time for teacher reflection and feedback. This approach appeals to me as an admirer or the TPACK model.
Most of my coaching opportunities at the moment come from informal conversations. Typically, a teacher reveals a situation that she needs assistance with, and we set up a time to work on it together. I would like to change the focus from primarily technical problems to more instructional ones.
Some of my coaching opportunities come from the intervention of the principal. Knight stresses the importance of offering the coach as one avenue for support, rather than imposing the coach on a teacher (as a punishment/consequence).
I struggle as a digital learning facilitator to determine who my client/audience is. Knight suggests that for the role of instructional coaching, my audience are the people who WANT to work with me. I’ve always thought that I HAVE to work with everyone but CAN focus on those who are welcoming. This slight shift in thinking could be instrumental in changing how I schedule my time and how I structure my work with teachers. This shifts the focus away from teams to individual classroom and teachers. This makes sense to me as each teacher’s context is different, and the most effective professional development is tailored for the particular context. I acknowledge the importance of one-on-one coaching but am wondering where group/team coaching may fit into my (eventual) model, especially given the research about the importance of communities of practice in sustaining change.
Book Citation: Knight, J. (Ed.). (2008). Coaching: Approaches and perspectives. Corwin Press.