This session examines ways to guide the professional growth of K–8 educators and explores the resulting benefits to the learning community. In this session, coaches learn the fundamental steps in planning for, implementing, and monitoring teachers’ on-going strategic processes and instructional practices.
Educators have the unique experience of witnessing and analyzing student behavior and learning on a daily basis. From these observations, they are expected to make quality decisions regarding what should happen next in student achievement and how to make it happen through a carefully planned sequence of instructional activities.
Since an additional pair of expert eyes can assist in this process, more and more teachers today receive support from academic coaches. As a result of their specialized training, coaches are able to work closely with teachers in order to:
Above all, coaches guide the professional growth of experienced K–8 teachers through:
The desired outcome is deeper understanding and improved instructional practices by all educators for the benefit of the students.
Begin by supporting teachers daily based on their immediate individual and common needs. These can be determined through classroom observations, self-evaluation forms, questioning, reflective discussions, and examination of student data, and can range from pedagogy, to how to work with particular students, to where to locate needed resources and materials.
Next, provide a necessary framework for growth by helping teachers set short- and long-term goals. These include working toward the improvement of professional skills and the expansion of a theoretical knowledge base. An Individual Professional Development Plan can capture teachers’ goals on a quarterly basis.
Once needs and goals are established, begin planning site-based professional development opportunities:
Finally, evaluate professional development effectiveness using multiple data. This should include teachers’ attainment of short- and long-term goals and their ability to take on new instructional strategies as supported by coaching observations, teacher reflections, student achievement, and testing data.
Following are general components of collaborative professional development that can be negotiated by the coach, participating educators, and district- and building-level administration:
Adapted from Fulenwider, Kordic, Scheuermann, Vollenweider, Anderson, & Rodriguez “Constructing A Model of Professional Development to Support Early Literacy Classrooms.” In E.M. Rodgers & G.S. Pinnell, Learning From Teaching In Literacy Education.