How can coaching enhance the positive impact of professional standards for teaching?
Professional standards give us a shared language to talk about our knowledge, values, skills and practices as teachers. Although they can be used as a benchmark of teacher competence or a basis for performance review, they have the potential to contribute much more.
Standards are intended to support teachers’ career-long development (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, 2011)
We have developed Standards which offer constructive support for teachers as they consider how they might develop their professional knowledge and skills through on-going self-evaluation and professional learning.’ (General Teaching Council for Scotland, 2014)Coaching is a good way of embedding professional standards into our professional development, and the coach can be a line manager, a colleague or an external coach. Here are some examples of how coaching can build awareness and responsibility, which Sir John Whitmore describes as the key elements of coaching.
- When self-evaluating our practice against the professional standards so that we can set a manageable number of goals, we can benefit from a coach’s listening and questioning skills and their way of being. The coach might use tools such as coaching wheels, scaling or a solution-focused approach, all linked to the standards.
- Having clarified our goals, we can work with a coach using a model such as GROWTH to plan how we will achieve goals and sustain success. The coach's questions and attention can help us generate new thinking. Coaching is an ongoing process, and we can involve colleagues and line managers by sharing our goals and regularly seeking feedback in relation to the standards. Goldsmith and Morgan (2004) emphasise the importance of involving others to ensure accountability and sustainability.
- When assessing our classroom practice against the standards, we can co-coach with a colleague. This collaborative, respectful process builds the quality of the relationship as well as sharing learning.
- Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2011) National Professional Standards for Teachers: Frequently Asked Questions. Melbourne: AITSL Limited. Retrieved October 2014 from http://bit.ly/1sxBd5s
- General Teaching Council for Scotland. (2014) Uses for Professional Standards. Retrieved October 2014 from http://bit.ly/ZB8IIO and http://bit.ly/1j8eV6O
- Goldsmith, M., & Morgan, H. (2004). Leadership is a Contact Sport: The 'Follow up Factor' in Management Development. Retrieved July 2011, from http://bit.ly/1sBaPJb
- Growth Coaching International. (2014) CoCoaching: Conversations about Teaching Practice. Retrieved October 2014 from http://bit.ly/1toA16N
- Growth Coaching International (2014) The GROWTH Approach. Retrieved October 2014 from http://bit.ly/1rqFZN1
- Whitmore, J. (2009) Coaching for performance: GROWing human potential and purpose: The principles and practice of coaching and leadership (4th ed.). London: Nicholas Brealey