[This post is a homework assignment for the Peer Coaching class that I am taking.]
For this assignment we read Empowering Questions for Coaching Conferences by Stephen G. Barkley.
I'm an AVID teacher. One of the biggest tenets of AVID is inquiry. In the classroom, the students spend a great deal of time working on questioning. In the beginning of the year, we spend a few weeks learning about Costa's levels of questions. Then we spend time every week ensuring that we still understand the levels. The 7th and 8th graders, who are on their second year of AVID, get it. They ask awesome questions. In my eyes, a great question is better than any answer and is something that makes the world go around.
This article confirms that believe for me. Whether it's a 6th grade student or a 8th year teacher, the ability to ask the right question at the right time is the key. I think that this a great aspect of the peer coaching course. Teachers rarely make enough time to ask questions of themselves, certainly not of other teachers. Being able to sit down before and after a lesson to have someone ask questions about your teaching, your lesson, your philosophy, or your expectations is critical.
This is something that I do on my own for the most part. Usually, when done formally, it is a reflection piece. For instance, here I wrote about a lesson that completely bombed for many reasons. I need to do more of the pre-conference questioning with myself. I think I do some of that in my head but it is much more informal.
As for having another person involved? That's a big time commitment in a teaching landscape that is already crunched for time. I'm interested to see how the pre-conference goes with the social studies teacher.
That brings me to another question? Does this have to be a formal affair? I speak with this social studies teacher daily. We ask how the day went and we get into specifics of each class or student and how it related to the content and method of the delivery. I learn from what he tells me about his lessons and I learn from what I tell him about my lessons. It's really informal but it is tremendously beneficial.