By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two weeks ago, the PIIC mentors met for their two-day statewide mentor meeting. They collaborated and designed a variety of professional development sessions that would be implemented throughout the year at their local, regional, and statewide professional learning conferences. This year, the focus is on “The BDA cycle in practice.”

You may remember reading about the BDA cycle of consultation in previous blogs: the “B” or before session is where the coach and teacher or group of teachers discuss and co-construct the agreed upon “look fors” as well as decide what the teacher’s and coach’s roles are when the visit takes place; the date and time for the debriefing are also scheduled at this time. The “D” or during session is the actual visit; this is the data collection stage with a list that was generated in the before session. The “A” or after session is the time for debriefing. This is where the coach and teacher reflect on what they saw or did (during) and align it to what they planned (before). Depending on the roles, both the teacher and the coach give/get feedback. This is where beliefs are discussed and ultimately where professional practice is changed.

In reality, not every teacher has the luxury of meeting his/her coach for each of the three sessions every time they work together. Every effort, however, should be made to meet for a complete cycle at least once or twice a quarter. When the full cycle occurs, the coach and teacher engage in a 3-pronged cycle that is collaborative, confidential, collective, and communal. Many part time coaches have blended their approach to the BDA cycle. They plan using an electronic tool, e.g., google docs, Crocodoc, NineHub, Wallwisher, or other collaborative tools when they do not have the opportunity to meet F2F. Unfortunately, there is no substitution for the “D.” A coach and teacher need to see each other in the classroom. That visit is the basis for the debriefing in the “A.” The conversation in the “A” can sometimes be virtual using Skype, google hangouts, GoToMeeting or similar tools.

Don’t let the shortage of time prevent you from meeting with teachers in planned and intentional ways.


How do you blend your approach and follow the BDA cycle of consultation in your coaching?

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