Improving classroom practice with effective coaching
Recently, I listened to a number of teachers share passionately how their classroom practice has evolved as a result of professional development. What common PD experience catalyzed so much reflection and growth? Coaching.
Effective coaching – literacy, math, technology or data – impacts classroom instruction. Here are three keys to know when implementing a coaching program:
- Create a climate where teachers are comfortable sharing openly with their peers about instructional practice. In this climate, teachers recognize that being an effective teacher involves adapting and learning from others. They benefit from the collaboration as well as the collective knowledge and experience.
- Administrators should have a clear understanding of what effective coaching looks like and the outcomes they want to achieve. What are your goals? Improved test scores? Increased student engagement? More student-centered use of technology tools and resources? Researchers agree that the most successful coaching outcomes result from shared goals and expectations.
- Find the right people. Coaches must be able to encourage reflection, critical dialogue, and courageous conversations about what is best for student learning. The “techy teacher” may not be the best technology integrationist because what is most important is an ability to balance approachability and accountability.
Effective coaching affects student learning. These keys will help you establish responsible practice and move toward the results you want to see with you students.
Andy Mork has worked in schools for more than 20 years. He has taught fourth grade, art, and implemented 1-to-1 learning environments in a variety of schools and districts including rural, suburban, urban and private schools. He has an EdD in educational leadership focusing on educational equity. Mork started leading technology integration as an entry point for educational transformation to create more equitable learning environments for all students. Currently he teaches art and coaches educators in adapting instructional practice through reflection and understanding vocation. He practices lifelong learning, and s taking beginning piano lessons alongside his children. He lives in St. Paul, MN and is on the board of directors at Voyageurs Lutheran Ministries.