Monday, February 7, 2011

Peer Coaching: Relfective Practice

[This post is part of the homework I am completing for peer coaching.]

I read the first paragraph and the concept of time stuck in my head as peer coaching relates to me.    Specifically, this quote stood out for me:
Reflection happens any time one thinks about what is working for students and what is not. (p. 185)
Any time.  As for coaching, it is a formal process and can't really happen anytime.  It needs to be slotted into an existing busy day.  That said, it is still valuable because often times, you need to have another set of eyes in your classroom to see what is really happening.  On the other hand, teachers need to incorporate reflection into their teaching at all times.  For instance, in the shower, I think about what  went well or what I need to do differently that day.  I write a blog that post I share positive and negatives. I have a Twitter feed that allows me to connect with teachers around the world and get ideas and share issues.  Any time. In addition to periodic coaching.

Another part of this article that stuck in my mind is the unconscious act of teaching.  Most of what I am able to do in my classroom, I do without thinking when the students are there.  Not all of it is good but it is mostly unconscious.  There are times when I stop and think, but it is for the benefit of the students so that they know my thought process but the outcome has already been decided.  Coaching is that second set of eyes that can  reinforce things that are happening that are good and offer suggestions for things that might be not so good.  This might also open my eyes to things that I am doing that I might not even know that I am doing.

I'm intrigued by the "write portraits of one another's teaching" (p. 186). A portrait of my teaching.  I think this would be a great activity to use with the students as feedback about my teaching.  This is not related to peer coaching but I believe that feedback from the students is equally important because they are the customer and end user of my product.  Perhaps I could had out a "canvas" and have each student add a picture, word or sentence that describes my teaching.

Lastly, the concept of questioning is in this article too (p. 187).  I teach questioning in my AVID classes with great regularity.  If you can ask a great question, you will learn, no matter where you are.  That is a believe that I hold dear.  In this paragraph, it also eludes to Visual Thinking Strategies, where the facilitator asks questions but does not judge what the responses.  I think, in terms of coaching, that this is a huge piece.  There must be a comfortable and professional relationship between two people to be able to have a successful coaching relationship.  There isn't a place for judgment in this relationship.

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