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?