Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Notes & Reflections: The Art of Coaching (Chapter 12: Directive Coaching Activities)

I've never blogged my notes and thoughts through a book, but I figure there's never a better time than NOW!

My goal is to create a reference & reflective place for me as I continue growing as a coach.

See my notes from all book chapters on my Coaching Page.

Direct quotes from the book are in blue.
  • Reminders for any of these activities:
    • "Chunk" learning
    • Understand fellow's ZPD
    • Have plan for GRR (Gradual Release of Responsibility)
  • Directive - "the coach will push, nudge, and direct the teacher...into a learning experience" (page 211)
    • Great for new teachers or those who are teaching a new curriculum
    • Even when use directive, you need a balance of facilitative learning experiences. 
  • How to make observations effective:
    • Focus - must agree on a clear, narrow focus before observation, should be a specific area of practice.  "The narrower the focus the better" (page 212).  Ask clarifying questions / use paraphrasing when meeting with fellow before the observation to best understand their needs / requests for what their focus is for the observation.  Goal is to have a clear agreement of what will happen during the observation before it actually happens.
    • Data Collection tools - Use data tracker or a two-column note taker (time stamp, teacher words & actions, student words & actions).  Share notes with fellow with caution, because they most likely include some of our judgments / perceptions that need to be "cleaned up" before shared with the fellow.
    • Debrief - "Whenever possible, the debrief should happen on the same day as the observation." (page 213)
      • Be very careful during debrief if I noticed something outside of the area of focus during the observation...
    • Reflections: I have asked for a "focus area" before I observe but sometimes it's hard for the fellow to identify and I don't push it.  This is definitely an area of growth for me.  What's the point of me being in there if it's not to give feedback / support as a coach?  And, I want to give feedback on what they want to get feedback on.  One of the struggles is teachers identifying where and how they want to grow within themselves.  How can I help to "get this out of them" better (i.e. what questions can I ask that would better lead them to the place I want them?).  Also, the debrief doesn't usually happen the next day, but at the next coaching meeting.  Because we have a weekly schedule set up, the debrief is just a part of the next meeting, which sometimes can be 3-4 school days later.  How can I make this better?  We'll always do a mini 1-3 minute debrief near the end of class or during passing period, but it's not a deep reflection.  Is this something in addition to their weekly commitment already?  A debrief sometimes can take a whole hour depending on where it goes!  Hmm... need to think about this.
  • Giving Feedback:
    • "It's...hard for a coach to effectively deliver feedback, and it's often very hard for us to hear feedback." (page 215) "We might see these possibilities [actions the teacher could take that would immediately result in a positive change in the classroom] jumping out at us and yet be unsure of how to communicate our observations in a way that the client will hear us.  Delivering feedback is an art that takes coaches many years of practice." (page 216)
    • Suggestions:
      • Assess for trust
      • Always ask for permission - "Can I share a couple of things I observed that might help you...?"
      • Ground feedback in observational data
      • Restrict critical feedback to one or two key points (take time between observation and debrief to digest and decide on what is most important to share)
      • Find the phrasing
      • Invite reflection (ask how the feedback was received and plan for next steps)
    • Reflections: I did a very poor job of this a few weeks ago and I can tell the fellow didn't take it well.  I knew it my mind it might not be the right timing but I said it anyways.  I felt the "immediacy" was important, and she was teaching it again the next period so I thought she could try it in a different way.  But, instead of coming across positively, it was more like "I think the way you planned it sucked.  Do it my way" (but not in those words, obviously).
  • Using a Data Tracker as an observation tool (example on pages 218-220)
    • List of all interactions.  Note positive / negative / neutral.  Note male / female. Note ethnicity.  Column for any other notes.
    • Idea - use when doing video analysis.  Questions to reflect on (from page 220)
      • What do you notice in these data?
      • What surprised you?
      • What feels good to see? What's affirming?
      • Is there anything that raises questions for you?
      • What do you want to know more about? Is there anything you want me to collect more data on?
      • Is there anything you might want to work on now that you've reviewed these data?
    • Reflections: I definitely need something more structured like this when I do videotaping next year, because the fellows didn't really know what to look for and we had no concrete data at the end of it. The columns might need to change, but the idea of a data tracking sheet would be really helpful.
  • Modeling
    • Be selective about what and how we model.  We don't want to overuse it - it's a form of "direct instruction" and we should keep in mind the Gradual Release of Responsibility.
    • Agree on the specific behaviors that a coach will be modeling - not just a lesson, but an instructional goal.  What exactly will the client observe?  Are they actions the client can do on their own fairly soon?
    • What is the client supposed to be doing while the coach is modeling?  Are they collecting data? Looking for specific things?
    • Pay attention while modeling to things that you do that the client may or may not notice so you can bring them up in the debrief.
    • Debrief within 24 hours
    • Avoid modeling our personality or charisma... we don't want our clients to be us!  They can't be!!
    • Ask for feedback during debrief - "Did you notice anything that I didn't notice?  That I could have done better? That wasn't clear?"  (page 222) This helps to model being a reflective learner always looking for feedback - exactly what we want them to do!
    • Reflections: I need to improve on identifying the specific behaviors I'm modeling and making sure it's not my personality, but an instructional strategy.  If I'm modeling, what is the fellow actually looking for and observing - they shouldn't just be "another helper" in the room if it's a model.  They should be observing me and students for something specific.
  • Elbow Teaching
    • Basically co-teaching.  Might model and then turn the lead over to the teacher.  Great for the immediacy of practice.
    • Reflections: I like this a little better than modeling because it means I'm not just "taking over" and they can actually be an active part of it that day
  • Lesson and Unit Planning
    • *important to consider the fellow's ZPD and how they are responding to these activities so they don't shut down
  • On-the-spot Coaching
    • Very tricky!  Can be useful, but a high level of trust must be present so the fellow is not embarrassed.
    • Feedback needs to be discrete and something they can do or fix on the spot, not something that requires them to think too deeply in order to do. 
    • Reflections: I have fellows who the trust is high enough for me to do this, and others who completely shut down.  I need to be very aware and make sure I don't do this with those that I know will take it in the wrong way, as I mentioned in the story above.
  • Field Trips
    • The coach must accompany the client on the observation!!
    • Tips:
      • Identify the specific behaviors to observe
      • Ensure quality in terms of who you choose to observe
      • Talk ahead of time about what specific data will be gathered
      • Model the data-gathering throughout the observation with the fellow
      • Debrief with reflective questions.  What will the client take back and act on?  Get specific - have them choose one or two things they will implement in their class.  As a coach, our role is to "elicit reflection, encourage experimentation and risk taking, and then push for our client to do it." (page 226)
    • Reflections: I've offered to cover my fellow's class so they can do an observation, but this makes me completely rethink that.  If I should be a part of the observation, then how can this happen, unless it becomes a school-supported thing or we do it during their prep period...
  • Shared Reading - find articles to read and learn from together
    • Reflections: I really like this idea, for two main reasons.  First, if I send them an article to read on their own, most likely it doesn't happen.  I have a lot of excuses about busyness, which I understand, but at the same time there needs to be time made for professional growth.  Secondly, by doing it together during a coaching meeting we can learn and reflect together and I can model for them my learning process.  The only concern is that they might see it as "wasting a coaching meeting" just reading an article together and not actually planning anything specific.
  • Looking at Data (page 227 for more questions / sentence stems)
    • Four steps:
      • What do we expect to see or learn?
      • What was actually seen? What patterns emerged?
      • Why did we see what we saw?
      • So what? Now What?
  • Coaching on Time Management
    • Four quadrant discussion (Steven Covey)

...Until Chapter 13...

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