Mr Kemp NZ

‘Coaching’ as a staff Professional Development Tool

This year my school has introduced a ‘Coaching’ scheme for staff in an attempt to help staff develop their strengths and weaknesses in an internally driven and supported manner.
 
We run on a Australian School year so it runs from January – December.
 
We have had a magnificent start to the New Year and this new process was introduced to all staff during our professional development days in January.
 
The 2013 Professional Learning Programme
This is a formal program that mirrors the requirements of the AITSL Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework. The purpose is to ensure that each teacher receives regular, appropriate and constructive feedback on their performance, opportunities to identify areas for development, and effective and on-going support to further improve their practice.
 
The focus is on improving student outcomes – student learning, student engagement in learning and student well-being. It is pleasing to know that the focus of this program always ties back to the student and our role in the teaching profession.
 
The Professional Learning Cycle
We decided the Goal setting is the first step in this process and needs to be based on the school’s shared vision of effective teaching and the strategic priorities for the year (school wide). It is also important to include the interests of staff (as part of a team or curriculum area) and each teacher’s personal review of their role description and reflection of their own practice.
 
All teachers are supported in working towards their goals through the appointment of a ‘coach’ who works with individuals to assist in goal setting and reflection.
 
It was up to each staff member to appoint a coach (this included the administration team) and ensure they were happy to work with them through this process. Because of my role as Head of ICT and Learning Innovation I have 7 teachers that I work with under this process which is a large number and is hard to ensure I give them all enough of my time. However, it is a very powerful process to be a part of and I am mentored by the school Principal which is a fantastic insight into the school.
 
We have together set 2 school wide goals, 1 syndicate (or year level/curriculum area) goal and 1-2 personal teaching and learning goals for the year. The idea is that we set timeframes for them all and adjust them as required.
 
Goals were set using the iSMART strategy:
i = Inspiring – Does it make you feel happier, more satisfied, more confident, more challenged, more in control and / or more like you will be ‘making a difference’
S = Specific – Are all clear about what is to be achieved?
M = Measurable –How will one know when the goal has been achieved?
A = Achievable –Is the goal reasonable, given the circumstance / other commitments, the environment / the resources available
R = Results Driven – Is the goal sufficiently challenging? Are there clear implications regarding critical success factors?
T = Time bound – Is there a suitable time frame to give strong momentum to action without unnecessary pressure?
 
This process requires evidence of how we are achieving set goals. This includes:
  • data showing the impact on student outcomes
  • information based on direct observation of teaching and
  • evidence of collaboration with colleagues
 
The evidence may also include:
  • peer feedback
  • parent feedback
  • student questionnaires
  • reflection statements on professional learning experiences
 
As part of the coaching process the coach and coachee meet at least twice a term to discuss and reflect on goals. In addition to this, regular observations are encouraged.
 
As in sport, the coach’s focus should be on constant improvement, on keeping all individuals ‘moving forward’ rather than necessarily feeling that the focus in on addressing deficiencies. The coach’s role is to help colleagues formulate visions or goals, leading conversations that promote self-awareness (both of individual capabilities and behaviours that tend to hold people back) in order to galvanise them into action. Mutual trust is critical!
 
The Coach process has only been running for 5 weeks but it is truly valuable and powerful from both perspectives. From the coach and coachee it is very useful and worthwhile and having a formalised program that we are doing school wide makes a big difference going forward. Looking ahead we have formal coach meetings in 3 weeks’ time to review and follow up with progress. I will update you along the way and if you are interested in this please don’t hesitate to follow me on twitter or email me.
 
I would be happy to share more information if you want to know more details. The AITSL website is also a magnificent resource to utilise.
 
I would love to know about your coaching program and how it works (if at all). What are the positive and negative features of this or any other program from your point of view?

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Awesome. We actively use SAM goals. Inspiring is a fantastic addition that we could adopt too. Partnered mentoring is the ultimate generative learning situation, I will be watching this space more closely and with relish. We also use the Te Kotahitanga PSIRPEG, Use of Student Voice and Evidence, ETP and GPILSEO system that is founded on the narratives of engaged and disengaged Maori students recorded in 2001. It’s working, looking forward to collaborating.

  • A great read! Our school (nz) are beginning to look at the coaching model also. I look forward to your schools progress and seeing if it is manageable long-term and how you keep the momentum going. It’s great that your whole staff are involved including your administration..Great idea!.. Can one person mentor multiple people?

  • Hey there Paapere – thanks for the message 🙂 I would love to see some practical examples of what you use – sounds magnificent – I love hearing what others are doing. The inspiring step is something often missed out and I love it!
    Thanks for the feedback – stay in touch!
    Craig

  • Hi Kaela – thanks for the comments. It has been a hugely positive start to the process and I will definitely keep you updated with more blog posts (make sure you keep me honest too). Having a whole staff involved and it not being selective is one of the most powerful parts of this process. In answer to your question; Yes, one person can mentor multiple people. I, for example, mentor 5 other people whose girls are related to technology and curriculum. It does become time consuming so it is best to spread it out amongst staff where appropriate.
    Have a great week
    Craig

  • Hi Craig, thanks for posting info about what you are doing at your school to support staff professional development. I think finding a process which results in real staff learning is tricky, so often they are just tick the box processes. I am looking forward to reading more about it as the year progresses.

  • Very interesting, Craig. We had a mentoring scheme running about 5 years ago but it folded, I think there was a lack of buy in across staff. I will be interested to see how yours goes. For me, the thing I really liked from your post was the iSMART goals. I have set a lot of SMART goals in my life but haven’t heard of the i part before. Often we feel like the goals are all “have to” “ought to” or “the school says this must be one of our goals”. The idea that someone might let us actually own our own goals and be inspired by them: radical! Taking that “i” back to my college. cheers, Jess.

  • Hi Craig, this is my second attempt at commenting – the first seems lost in the ether.
    Our school had a mentoring programme similar to the coaching you are describing, but there was not widespread buy-in and it lapsed after a few years. I found it useful and positive. The main thing I took from your blog is the idea of adding the “i” to SMART goals. So often we feel like the goals in our appraisal folders are there because they are “have to” “ought to” or “the school says we are all doing this”. The idea that we could actually own our own goals and be inspired by them: radical!

  • Craig, this is a fantastic programme and I wish that all schools would embark on a similar motoring journey. I am sure that the children will flourish under the 1:1 guidance and that those who often struggle to be heard will love their time with their mentor.
    I look forward to following the journey and to quizzing you further about the process.
    Kiaora

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