- The Benefits of Instructional Coaching: Reciprocal Learners
For the Whole of Their Life.
The Benefits of Instructional Coaching: Reciprocal Learners
Instructional Coaches partner with teachers to improve their teaching and learning and facilitate greater educational success by encouraging students to effectively utilise their God given gifts and talents.
Coaching is a 1-1 relationship underpinned by mutual listening, sharing, dialoguing, encouraging and communicating. It is a relationship where both individuals grow, learn to trust and experiment with different pedagogies and teaching strategies. As a result, it is professional partnership which celebrates success and fosters improvement and refinement of teaching practices, particularly through meaningful reflection and deep listening.
The heart of Instructional Coaching is to work side by side with teachers to help them implement research based instructional practices for schools to continue to be better at differentiating and catering for all students. Coaches are not looking for quick fixes, but long-term improvement, respectfully sharing teaching strategies that help teachers achieve the goals they have set for their students.
The coach is never seen as the ‘expert’ but rather a reciprocal learner, where both teachers grow and learn from one another to benefit students. The coach facilitates conversation and focuses on inquiry, using questions for the teacher to realise the answers they have within them.
An Effective Instructional Coach:
- is an excellent teacher and is kind-hearted, respectful, patient, compassionate, and honest
- has high expectations and provides the affirmative and honest feedback that helps people to realise those expectations
- has a deep understanding of teaching strategies they can share with teachers to improve
- allows teachers to decide how they would like to implement the chosen strategy to better meet student’s needs, and align with teachers’ strengths
- can see something special in you that you didn’t know was there and help you to make something special become a living part of you (Art of Coaching, page 15).
As a coach, you are required to ‘develop tremendous patience, compassion, humility, attentiveness, and a willingness to listen deeply’ (Art of Coaching, page 6). It is an unpredictable role, full of excitement, possibility and rich learning experiences. No day is the same, no teacher is the same and not one instructional practice needs to be implemented in exactly the same manner.
Instructional coaching is dynamic, ever-evolving and improves student learning. It narrows down the big concepts into smaller, achievable steps through targeted practice, modelling, reflection and a persistent attitude. It is the most effective, long-lasting way of embedding professional learning opportunities into the day to day work of teachers, that builds upon their skills and expertise.
Often coaching is implemented within a cycle, such as the Impact Cycle, which consists of three sections: Identify, Learn and Improve.
- Identify: The teacher videos and watchers their lesson. Whilst watching the video, the teacher (and coach separately) are reflecting upon what the students are doing and what the teacher is doing, during this learning time. Once videos have been reflected upon, the teacher and coach then meet up for a debrief meeting, working through reflective questions for the teacher to arrive at a powerful student-focused goal that will improve the lives of their students.
- Learn: Together, teacher and coach come up with a strategy that will best meet the set goal. Through the use of a checklist and modelling, the teacher is learning and grasping how to use the strategy and what it may look like when implemented effectively. There is no one way of implementing a strategy, and it is best fit with the needs of the students along with the teacher's strengths.
- Improve: The teacher implements the chosen strategy. Progress is monitored and modifications are consistently made to the teaching until the goal is hit.
Once the goal has been hit, the cycle begins again, however the focus on life-long learning for teachers and improving outcomes for students remains unchanged.
The Benefits of Instructional Coaching
- improves the lives of students and teachers as teachers grow and improve, as they learn and implement high impact researched pedagogies
- is based around the belief that people can learn and change
- allows teachers to apply their learning more deeply, frequently and consistently than teachers working alone (Art of Coaching, page 8)
- keeps the focus on teaching and learning
- increases job satisfaction as teacher become more confident, competent and see more fruit for their students
- creates a culture of mutual respect, growth and life-long learning
- is a safe place to try new strategies to benefit student’s learning, through dialogue and the mutual sharing of ideas
- grows teachers who become more open to trying new strategies, through the modelling of meaningful, impacting strategies that can be used immediately
- increases teacher efficacy and the teacher’s ability to promote students learning - as the teacher improves so do student outcomes
- improves teacher retention rates through trusting relationships and connection, school wide success for teachers and students, supportive work environments which improve teacher’s wellbeing - until we address the social, emotional and learning needs of educators, we won’t be able to transform the experience for students
- cultivates in teachers the habit of continually assessing what they can do to assist students
- develops collaboration amongst teachers building upon trust and openness
- improves teacher effectiveness in classroom management, student engagement and instruction
- Coaching requires ‘an ability to see something that is not yet – but could be – in existence (Art of Coaching, page 2).
Instructional Coaching Coordinator
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