Coaching for Learning

Those who know me know that I have a love for mentoring and coaching. This is based on all of my experiences where these styles of conversations actually improve learning.  I also follow a blog called whatedsaid and was really pleased to see some of the comments made by others including;

Action

If there’s no action, there is no point in coaching. What happens as a result of the reflective conversations? What do teachers do? How does practice change? How is learning affected?

This is so true, the whole point of these conversations is to move learning on. Also commented on was;

Evidence based

Coaching is grounded in evidence. From the first conversation, it’s about noticing and naming what the coachee is feeling, followed by gathering of agreed data through planned observation, to seeking evidence that change has taken place. How will the teacher know she has been successful? How is student learning impacted?

For those of us trying to support teachers whether experienced or new to the profession all conversations should be productive for the coachee rather than a time waster, that stops them from reflecting and moving forward. And finally;

Listening is a key element

Coaching is about LISTENING, not about TELLING. It’s like inquiry teaching… Listen to where the learner (teacher) is at and ask questions that help them figure out where to go next. The coach needs to get rid of their ‘internal dialogue’ – It’s not about you!

So many senior leaders think that they have to be the one in charge, really bad coaching can leave the coachee feeling very uninspired and demotivated. I know I have been there,and heard others. In the staff room I hear after appraisal ‘ they are giving me one last chance’, or ‘I tried to explain that over the course of the year x, y or z happened which was outside my remit, but they just wouldn’t listen and help me work out what to do if it happens next time’. and finally ‘it just feels like they are using appraisal to stop me getting paid any extra’. Just remember if you were the coach who wasn’t being an effective coach – None of these teachers deserved this as they were good solid teachers, none of the departments or their leaders needed the demotivated staff as it impacts not only on the coachee but all of the people around them. Finally if they get that demotivated they drag everyone down with their negative tones and/or eventually leave which is counter productive. Retention is clearly the best option as you know the person in front of you, anyone else will take more time and money to fit in…just worth thinking about.

If you want to see more on this blog visit http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/coaching-for-learning/#like-19189

SEND Code of Practice – update

The new SEND Code of Practice reminds us

The bodies listed in paragraph iv. (see list below)  must have regard to the Code of Practice. This
means that whenever they are taking decisions they must give consideration to what
the Code says. They cannot ignore it. They must fulfil their statutory duties towards
children and young people with SEN or disabilities in the light of the guidance set out
in it. They must be able to demonstrate in their arrangements for children and young
people with SEN or disabilities that they are fulfilling their statutory duty to have
regard to the Code.

and that ‘Identifying and assessing SEN for children and young people whose first language is not English requires particular care’.

Something that I am particularly pleased to see addressed too often schools have stood behind ‘I only have one or two of those,’ whatever those are. I assume they are talking about those in the vulnerable category, and in my view rather than treating them with extra special care and interest they use it as a reason not to develop the child,  but subconsciously hope if they withdraw it/them in small groups then they disappear from the periphery.

All children are ‘entitled to a full and appropriate curriculum, whilst being challenged to move to the next level as soon as they are ready to do so.’

This does mean that teachers will find classes more challenging and that skills they had previously, no longer work in this new environment.

A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN learners

As school managers and leaders we must be open to this and ensure staff are trained and/or supported whilst developing the child.  Added to this the new classification (under the new code of practice) from BESD to SEMH that stands for Social, Emotional and Mental health difficulties teachers need to be more aware.

Mental Health difficulties in a child and young person manifest differently … as it does in adults. Some become quiet, withdrawn others are loud and can be verbally adept, but once asked to put pen to paper there is a difference between their abilities. The wider it is the more the alarm bells should be ringing. If you are interested a good start can be found at http://www.youngminds.org.uk/  I will write more about mental health in future posts.

To buy A practical guide to supporting EAL and SEN visit the website here

SEND Code of Practice –  Who must have regard to this guidance?
iv. This Code of Practice is statutory guidance for the following organisations:
• local authorities (education, social care and relevant housing and employment
and other services)
• the governing bodies of schools, including non-maintained special schools
• the governing bodies of further education colleges and sixth form colleges
• the proprietors of academies (including free schools, University Technical
Colleges and Studio Schools)
• the management committees of pupil referral units
• independent schools and independent specialist providers approved under
section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014
• all early years providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent
sectors that are funded by the local authority
• the National Health Service Commissioning Board
• clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
• NHS Trusts
• NHS Foundation Trusts
• Local Health Boards
• Youth Offending Teams and relevant youth custodial establishments
• The First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (see v.)

10 things that effective teachers do- Do you?

Sometimes it is just worth reflecting on our personal skills and looking at where our strengths and weaknesses are. After many years of teaching some skills will have been more developed, whilst others that are used less widely may need more work on.

For me I start with this list that I picked up somewhere from the internet when I started in Management many moons ago. NB. Way down the list is questioning, if you need more help with this see the last blog. For me this list was a starting point not only for me, but for the team or teams I was leading. Not only did I as a manager needs these skills, but also the team needed the same strengths, and being able to review and see our weaknesses objectively made it easier. For example,  when observing lessons  it gave us all a focus that we were all comfortable with. We all recognised we were good teachers but wanted to do better, so were honing skills. This meant the threat and fear went away, this was crucial in schools needing support as too often one criticism or constructive comment can lead to low self-esteem and the fear of being a  failing teacher rather than building more strengths.

10 things that effective teachers do.

Deep Knowledge of Subject Matter
Effective teachers have a passion for their subject. They work hard to keep their knowledge current and sharp.

Instructional Planning
Good teachers do not “wing it.” They prepare lessons carefully and thoroughly to ensure all students meet their targets.

Knowledge of Assessment and Evaluation
Effective teachers plan the ways in which they will judge students’ progress and they do so throughout the lesson, adjusting their teaching in the light of what they learn from the assessments.

Understanding Students and How They Learn
Effective teachers believe that every child can learn. They work hard to identify ways of overcoming any barriers to learning so that all students are successful.

Motivating Students to Learn
Effective teachers create learning opportunities through hands-on work, small group activities, peer-to-peer coaching, and individually guided instruction. Good teachers make learning engaging by making lessons interesting and relevant.

Creating Safe, Productive and Well-Managed Classrooms
Effective teachers understand that firm discipline policies contribute to a healthy academic atmosphere by emphasizing the importance of regular attendance, promptness, respect for teachers and other students, and good conduct. Good teachers understand that students respond to consistency, fairness, and structure.

Technological Literacy
Good teachers understand that technology is a tool for increasing student interest, motivation, and achievement.

Understanding and Appreciating Diversity
Effective teachers clearly communicate their expectation that all children can and will achieve to the best of their ability. Good teachers demonstrate zero tolerance for discrimination, bigotry, bullying, or harassment. They promote tolerance, curiosity, and respect for other genders, races, and cultures.

Working with the whole child
Effective teachers make efforts to know their students individually and to build openness and bridges between homes and classrooms. Good teachers create multiple channels for communications with parents and the community members. They try to see the “whole child” and provide extra help, referrals, and assistance for children facing challenges out-of-school.

Commitment to Lifelong Learning and Professional Development
Effective teachers are always growing and learning. They share successes and challenges with other teachers and see themselves not as an “expert” but part of a community of lifelong learners.

Encouraging student talk

Effective teachers plan opportunities for students to embed their learning through talk, to one another and to the teacher. In their classrooms, students talk more than the teacher!

Effective questions

Effective teacher organise their lessons so that students, rather than the teacher, generate questions that help to clarify and extend learning