Pedagogical Coaching is not so much an alternative to traditional models of teacher professional development, but an extension which closely connects vision, theory and daily pedagogical practice.
The Problem with “Hit and Runs”
Stand alone workshops, conferences and inter-school visits can both challenge and inspire teachers to embrace pedagogical change and enrichment. However, their potential is too often limited, because back in their learning setting, teachers face the daily challenge of crowded curriculums and ever-increasing workloads. It takes all teachers’ energy to navigate this, let alone to be in a place where they can embark on implementing new practice.
Coaching Makes Long Term Change a Reality
Coaching provides ongoing support so teachers are able to connect the challenge and inspiration of workshops and conferences to their learning and teaching context. It provides the direct and explicit thread that weaves theory and practice together.
Authentic Learning for Teachers
The most effective learning for deep understanding occurs in an authentic context. It must be real and relevant for the learner to find it meaningful. The authentic context for teachers is their teaching and learning environment: the child-care room, the classroom, the science laboratory, the library, the Kindergarten sand pit or the school garden. Coaching takes place directly within these authentic contexts.
Learning Starts with Relationships
At the heart of Pedagogical Coaching are relationships of mutual respect and trust. Time to develop these relationships is paramount to successful pedagogical change.
What Coaching Looks Like
The Coaching phase of a Professional Learning Project may include:
- Demonstration Lessons
- Modelling of language for explicit teaching, facilitation of learner’s inquiry through questioning, specific teaching strategies and reflective practice
- Team Teaching
- Collaborative Planning
- Reflective questioning to guide self evaluation and goal setting
- Clear and explicit feedback about teaching