Thursday, January 1, 2015

ISTE Coaching Academy Series - Course 6 Reflection

Time for the final ISTE Coaching Academy Course Reflection!
I just finished working through the last course, entitled:"Sustained Professional Learning, Connecting to Your Coaching".  I've still got lots of reading and reflecting to do to (my list of books to read has probably tripled through the resources I've found in this series), but in terms of the official course content, [ ] checkmark!

See my previous notes & reflections at the following links: 

Course 1 Reflections 
Course 2 Reflections,
Course 3 Reflections
Course 4 Reflections

Course 5 Reflections

This course focused on the ISTE Standards for Coaches 6: a,b,c, which state:

a. Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the NETS·S and NETS·T
b. Engage in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in organizational change and leadership, project management, and adult learning to improve professional practice
c. Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences

Course 6 started by having us look at the research-based attributes of effective school-based professional development (SBPD).

The SBPD Standards are derived from the article Building Professional Community in Schools by Krus, Louis & Bryk (1994). You can read the article starting on page 3 here. You can see my highlights, comments, and analysis by looking at the article through this Notable link (sign up for free by logging in with Google if you haven't already - it's a great tool for online, collaborative PDF annotation!

The six key attributes of school-based professional development are:

  • Reflective Dialogue
  • Deprivatization of Practice
  • Collaboration
  • Collective Focus on Student Learning
  • Shared Norms and Values
  • Structured Methodology (not directly listed in the article above)
  • Connected to other aspects of school change (not directly listed in the article above)
The article mentions something I felt was really important: Are structural conditions or social and human resources more important in developing a professional community? From page 6, "Our research suggests that human resources - such as openness to improvement, trust and respect, teachers having knowledge and skills, supportive leadership and socialization - are more critical to the development of professional community than structural conditions." You can put all these things in place - time to collaborate, teachers working in close proximity, communication structures, etc... but if there is not a willingness on the part of the teachers to build the professional learning community, it really just isn't going to happen.

Now, the question is... how do we begin that change process in teachers who are not interested in being a part of a professional learning community or truly reflecting and growing in their practice? Looks like I've got some more research cut out for me! Well, one of the courses I'm going to take this next semester is called "Schools As Professional Learning Communities"... so I guess that's a good thing ;)

Sidebar: Imagine these attributes describing you and your colleagues. Wouldn't this be such a positive work environment?
Value each other
Empathetic to the way other people are
Accepting that the aim of the relationship is to move everyone forward
Focus on each other's strengths
Providing positive feedback, guidance, and support

Ok, so the goal of looking at the attributes of the effective school-based professional development was to reflect on our school and its current practices. Based on areas of weakness, I set out three goals to focus on in the second semester, all of which are already on the starting blocks. They are:
1. Peer observations through the Tech Fellow program - I want my fellows seeing other fellows (and other teachers if possible) in action to learn, reflect, discuss, and grow.
2. JOT (Just One Thing) Tech Sessions focused around teachers needs & questions. This is like a "Tech Thursday"
3. Focus my coaching sessions and lesson designs moreso around students learning & needs and less around the tech tools. I've been working hard this break at redesigning a lot of my stuff for this! I'm excited to see how it works and what other tweaks I need to continue to make.

We also learned about roadblocks to coaching and went through some problem analysis with these steps:

1. Define the problem - Gather information, Identify relevant facts
2. Identify the causes - Discuss possible causes with others, put yourself in their shoes, think of all possible causes
3. Generate possible solutions - research ideas on the internet, ask others for ideas. Keep in mind what you can and can't control!
4. Decide on a solution - Review suggestions and ideas to choose a solution. Make sure the solution is one that can be accomplished and is within your control.
5. Plan - Identify goal & checkpoint; Identify action steps

The example that was given was "not enough time" for coaching. It is an roadblock I have faced so it was nice to think through the issue and consider all the possible causes, many of which I could relate to. This is a great protocol I will be holding on to to think through the roadblocks that I know I will continue to face in this journey.

A few other resources I found throughout this course:
Effective Professional Development - article from 1996 but still true today!

The last challenge of the Academy was to start blogging to share and reflect on what you have learned professionally. I think I have already met that challenge :)

Thanks for following my journey through the ISTE Coaching Academy. I would love to hear about your journey and learning - please comment if you have or are going through the Academy. I'd love to connect and continue the conversation!

See all of my ISTE Coaching Academy Course Reflections here:
Course 1 Reflections 
Course 2 Reflections,
Course 3 Reflections
Course 4 Reflections

Course 5 Reflections

Course 6 Reflections

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