Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Coaching by listening

One of the best parts of my position is discussing what teachers are doing with students in their classrooms. I enjoy the conversations had between colleagues about the choices, practices, and results in their classes. It is a great chance to reflect and I encourage the teachers with whom I work to see the observation/evaluation cycle as the most honest professional development in which they will participate.

As I reflect on my own practices, I stumbled across the Partner Discussion Protocol from a conference I attended. When there are partners working together, here is how it generally works:

·        A shares, B is an active listener (then switch)
·        A shares need, goal, or ideas for evidence
·        B’s role is to probe and push with ?’s
o   What’s going on now?
o   Why do you want this to change?
o   What exactly is your goal (desired change)? 
o   How will you know is changed?
 In the administrator/teacher dynamic, there may not necessarily be the reversal of roles, but idea of identifying the wanted change, defining the reason for the change, and being able to assess if the change has actually occurred is definitely valuable.

As the concept of peer evaluators gains popularity, this model can be applied after a pair of observations has been completed. The role of the active listener is key.

As it has been said: "We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak".

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