Principal Leadership - March 2015 - (Page 25)

around seven success factors. We have also learned that coaches will struggle to have a positive impact on teachers and students when their coaching programs fail to address even one of the success factors. In order to have an impact, coaches in successful instructional coaching programs should: 1. Understand the complexities of working with adults 2. Use an effective coaching cycle 3. Know effective teaching practices 4. Gather data 5. Employ effective communication strategies 6. Be effective leaders 7. Be supported by their schools and districts Working with Adults Coaches can know a lot about teaching, but if they don't understand the complexities of working with adults, they might prompt others to resist what they're offering. As I've written in Unmistakable Impact: A Partnership Approach to Dramatically Improving Instruction (2011a), helping adults is more complex than simply giving expert advice. Professionals want to make decisions for themselves and be recognized with the status they feel they deserve. They take it personally when others criticize their personal work, and they are motivated to reach their goals only when they see them as personally relevant. For these reasons, coaches should position themselves as partners by respecting teachers' professional autonomy, seeing teachers as equals, offering many choices, giving teachers voice, taking a dialogical approach to interactions, encouraging reflection and real-life application, and seeing coaching as a reciprocal learning opportunity (Knight, 2011b). Coaching Cycle If teachers are to be positioned as professionals, they need to have a lot of autonomy, but coaching must also be accountable. Within coaching, we see accountability as both coaches and teachers getting a clear picture of reality, setting powerful, student-focused goals, and then collaborating until those goals are met. Effective coaching is more than a few conversations; effective coaching leads to socially significant improvements in teaching and learning. Indeed, if student learning is not improving, instructional coaching isn't working. For the past six years, my colleagues and I at the Kansas Coaching Project at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning have used design research to study and refine an instructional coaching cycle that honors teacher autonomy and is accountable (Knight, Elford, Hock, Dunekack, & Bradley, in press). Working with coaches in Beaverton, OR, and Othello, WA, we developed and tested an instructional coaching cycle that incorporates three stages: identify, learn, and improve. During the identify stage of the instructional coaching cycle, the coach and teacher get a clear picture of the current reality in the collaborating teacher's classroom, often by recording a video of a class (Knight, 2014), looking at student work, reviewing assessment data, or some combination of these methods. The coach then guides the teacher to a student-focused goal. Usually student-focused goals deal with student achievement (e.g., for 90 percent of students to score five out of five on a paragraph-writing rubric three times in a row), behavior (e.g., for students to be on-task an average of 95 percent of the time), or attitude (e.g., for 90 percent of students to read for pleasure as measured by students' journal comments). Once a goal has been set, the teacher and coach identify a teaching strategy to be implemented in an attempt to hit the goal. During the learn stage of the instructional coaching cycle, the teacher learns the teaching strategy with the help of the coach. Often, instructional coaches describe teaching practices through the use of checklists, and then suggest various ways the teacher can see the practice in action. For example, a coach might model the practice in the teacher's classroom, the teacher might visit another teacher's classroom where the strategy is being used, or the teacher might watch a video or see the practice in some other way. Once the teacher has learned the practice, it's time to try it out. During the improve stage of the instructional coaching cycle, the teacher tries the new strategy in the classroom. Often the coach video records the lesson and gathers data on students' progress toward the goal. The teacher and coach can make adjustments as necessary, sometimes even choosing another teaching strategy, until the goal is met. Teaching Practices Instructional coaches help teachers improve student learning by improving teaching, so instructional coaches need a deep knowledge of a set of strategies that they know will help teachers hit their goals. We refer to this as the "instructional playbook." Strategies included in one's instructional playbook can March 2015 | Principal Leadership 25

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - March 2015

From the Editor
B ulletin Board
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
Military Partnerships: Paving the Way to Success
Designing Futures
Teach to Win
Keep it Simple
Communication: The Unspoken Key to School
Discussion Guide: Communication: The Unspoken Key to School Culture
Coherence and Collaboration: Fundamentals for Common Core Success
Layers of Leaders
Widening the Road
Oregon Students Have PEP!
From Good to Great
Instructional Leader
Breaking Ranks in Practice

Principal Leadership - March 2015