So, it seems that blogs are best when they are short, sweet, and to the point. Having said that, I will make every effort to shorten my blog entries starting with this one!
Last week, we met with ~140+ instructional coaches at our multi-day professional learning conference. While many professional development/learning sessions were offered, what stood out for me were the incredible conversations about teaching and learning. Coaches and other school leaders engaged in conversations about relevant pedagogy, teacher practice, and collective problem-solving. They talked about planning and preparation, reflection and feedback. They talked about how collaborative coaching helped identify areas of strength and need, and helped strengthen their own instructional habits. They shared stories of growth and problems of practice, each adding to one’s own repertoire of rituals.
What is abundantly clear is that instructional coaching provides a different approach to the typical professional development model for teachers and other school leaders. Instructional coaches help teachers identify goals and help them implement effective instructional practices. They help teachers create an evidentiary trail (and create one for themselves as well) of their work as they apply powerful practices that yield positive outcomes. Coaches really help teachers rehearse the classroom “lesson” in a no-risk environment where the only expectation is for teachers to get better at what they do with a little help from their friends!