A View from the Field: Guest Blogger Jennifer White Shares Coaching Tips

Written By smcneely

On May 12, 2011

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Several months ago I invited the coaches I mentor to pick a professional text or information source (web site, publication, blog, etc.) to address a learning interest or need, then read, read, read, synthesize the main points that they felt were most pertinent to our work as a cadre, and then prepare those points to share with the group. Each of them chose such interesting text, and so I’m publishing their summaries here. This week’s Guest Blogger is Jennifer White, Literacy Coach extraordinaire from East Jessamine High School. Here’s what she chose to share:

Jen with her family

Jen with her family

I chose a blog to follow. I’m constantly looking for better ways to coach because it is an ongoing learning curve for me. I simply googled ‘instructional coaching blogs’ looking for a blog that would provide me with tips and reminders for working with teachers. I sifted through a few and saw some great ideas on Jim Knight’s, from the University of Kansas, blog.  I found lots of great tips in his previous posts, and some of the best are included here.

1. Workshops, without follow up, don’t lead to implementation. 15% best implementation rate without follow up.

2. Coaches need to partner with teachers to provide support that empowers them to implement new practices in a high-quality way that gets results.

3. When professionals aren’t given time to reflect and think for themselves, they resist change. Engage them in these reflective  conversations.

4. Deeply understand what you share.

5. Find precise language to describe in easy-to-understand language how new teaching practices will look in a teacher’s classroom.

6. Coaching is about creating a more positive culture in school, one conversation at a time.

7. Coaches need to make a decision about what they will discuss, and stick to it. For example, what’s good for kids, the school, etc.

8. Coaches need to be careful not to label teachers too quickly. For example, if a coach determines a teacher is weak, they may be blind to the teacher’s potential.

9. Coaches need to make sure they don’t give away their services too easily, for fear that it might seem that coaching isn’t valuable.

10. Coaches can do a lot to accelerate and amplify meaningful peer interaction.

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