Mrs.H and I had our second meeting this week and referring back to our original Google Doc meeting minutes was an effective way to start. Before meeting, I went over some of the topics we’d covered and also the action we’d agreed to take. We both realised many of the tasks are more long-term and so very little had happened since we last met. The one item that Mrs.H was able to take initiative on was creating a google doc for iPad App revision. We have agreed that she will send this out to her team to complete at their next collaborative planning meeting, and then feed back to me.
We also revisited her plan for introducing the My Story app, and I asked again about what the process would look like for drafting their Public Spaces eBook. I helped her download Keri-Lee Beasley’s Design Secrets Revealed eBook, outlining the CARP Design Principles (I’ve described these on my COETAIL blog here). Mrs.H was really excited about using these to guide her students as they designed the layouts for their ebooks. We also talked about creating a culture of independence in the classroom by allowing students to apply to be tech ‘experts’/helpers so they can help other students with certain apps. We discussed the possibility of building in some Digital Citizenship to align with the PYP PSHE outcomes and also their Unit of Inquiry on Public Spaces. There is a great video and lesson on Common Sense Media called My Online Neighbourhood that would be very relevant for her class, as they explore the Internet as another Public Space.
Throughout our coaching session I really tried to follow some of the Partnership Principles suggested in What Good Coaches Do. I maintained Equality with Mrs.H, by allowing her to discuss some personal concerns that were happening within her class, and then we started by going back to the shared meeting minutes we created last week. I even clarified a few things we’d written and we both took turns going through the agenda items.
Next, I ensured Mrs.H felt she had Choice in what we focused on. I started off by saying “I realise we had a discussed a lot last week and I’m not sure how much either of us were able to action. Which item do you want to focus on today?”. From there, she led the the direction of the meeting and had the opportunity to raise concerns and ask pressing questions.
Voice is something I would like to develop further. While Mrs.H and I have a trusting relationship, I do like the idea of extending further and including videoing a lesson as an option for review and further development. While I am comfortable posing questions to the teacher (following more of a cognitive coaching model), I am less comfortable when I’ve noticed something I don’t agree with, and being diplomatic about improving an area. I prefer to focus on positives, rather than negatives of a lesson, but I know there are constructive ways of approaching difficult topics. Having a video of a lesson would really help with this.
Finally I really focused on Reciprocity, telling Mrs.H how much I appreciated these meetings to develop my own coaching and also to develop our working relationship. She immediately fed back that these meetings have already improved her understanding of the purpose of iPads and have her ‘buzzing’ with ideas for how she can purposefully integrate tech in the classroom. It’s also been helpful because she is team leader, and wants to streamline how tech is implemented across the grade level. She felt these conversations allowed her to flesh out some of her thinking and refine her understanding of how iPads can and should be used.
Choosing a coaching model that works is a bit like trying on different hats: it depends on the individual, and the ‘weather’ of the school.
There is definitely no one coaching model for all conditions, and sometimes what I think might work for someone just doesn’t work that particular day. Differentiation is key and that can only come through observations in the classroom environment and building a trusting professional relationship with each teacher.Above all, maintaining a growth mindset has helped me be patient as I cultivate a unique coaching model that works for both the teachers and me.
[This post is an excerpt from my EDURO: Coaching from Theory to Practice certificate from 2015]