Ryan and Deci (2000) suggest that people are “wired” to try to the best that they can. Our good colleague, Dr Jim Knight says it this way: “When we pursue excellence, we gain a deeper understanding of our purpose, a fuller knowledge of the contribution we make, and the satisfaction that comes from doing work that makes us proud” (2011, p.2). Jim is taking about the performance of teachers. How can we support teachers so that they can experience this kind of satisfaction more often? The answer may lie in creating a culture of professional improvement, feedback and growth – an intention at the heart of the AITSL Standards for Teachers. Within that culture, the use of ‘learning conversations’ between peers, based on lesson observation or student work samples, is one of the most effective ways of developing classroom practice.
Yet some teachers often work in isolation and can be uncomfortable inviting others into their classrooms to observe their teaching. Even if this happens there is uncertainty about how to talk helpfully about what has been observed.
|This is where CoCoaching may have an important role to play.|
CoCoaching is a coaching process for supporting teachers to reflect on their practice in a respectful relationship, where performance development is contextualized in an authentic learning culture. The teacher or coachee is involved as an active learner in partnership with a colleague, taking responsibility for identifying their goals for future development while being supported to achieve them.
The CoCoaching training offered by GCI provides understanding and skill to support collegial conversations that are learning focused where participants:
- Explore concepts of relationships, conversation, learning and feedback which underpin a process of inquiry about teaching practice.
- Explore and practice coaching skills including questioning, listening and clarifying.
- Develop competence and confidence in a coaching process to support a colleague in inquiring and reflecting on their teaching practice.
- Explore an approach to the use of observational data in a co-coaching feedback process.
Making sense of the complexity of teaching, taking on board new knowledge about learning, and being willing to change practice is hard work. CoCoaching conversations provide exactly the right balance of respect, challenge and curiosity.
- Knight, J. (2013) High Impact Instruction: A Framework for Great Teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
- Ryan, R.M. and Deci, E.L. (2000) ‘Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and wellbeing,’ The American Psychologist, 55: 68-78.