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Even coaches need coaches

By Serena Tyra, Brandon Sherman and Annela Teemant
April 2021
Coaches play integral roles in many schools’ learning cultures, but they often find their entry into coaching life disorienting and difficult. Educators typically take on the mantle of coach because they were successful as teachers, and they may have limited experiences working with adult learners. Yet coaches we work with often point out that the shift from teacher to coach came without support structures and with an expectation that they would learn on their feet. New coaches rarely have the luxuries of formal preparation, assisted supervision, or ongoing support. Coaching preparation, where it exists at all, is rarely as extensive as the student teaching experience or apprenticeship model found in most teacher education programs. And unlike coaching for new teachers, coaching for new coaches is

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ENDURING PRINCIPLES OF LEARNING

JOINT PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITY

Teachers and Students Producing Together

Facilitate learning through joint productive activity among teacher and students.

Enacting level: The teacher and a small group of students collaborate on a shared product.

LANGUAGE AND LITERACY DEVELOPMENT 

Developing Language and Literacy Across the Curriculum

Develop competence in the language and literacy of instruction across the curriculum.

Enacting level: The teacher provides structured opportunities for students to engage in sustained reading, writing, or speaking activities and assists academic language use or literacy development by questioning, rephrasing, or modeling.

CONTEXTUALIZATION

Making Meaning: Connecting School to Students’ Lives

Connect teaching and curriculum to experiences and skills of students’ home and community.

Enacting level: The teacher integrates the new activity/information with what students already know from home, school, or community.

CHALLENGING ACTIVITIES

Teaching Complex Thinking

Challenge students toward cognitive complexity.

Enacting level: The teacher designs and enacts challenging activities with clear standards and performance feedback and assists the development of more complex thinking.

INSTRUCTIONAL CONVERSATION

Teaching Through Conversation

Engage students through dialogue, especially the Instructional Conversation.

Enacting level: The teacher has a planned, goal-directed conversation with a small group of students on an academic topic; elicits student talk by questioning, listening, and responding to assess and assist student understanding; and inquires about students’ views, judgments, or rationales. Student talk occurs at higher rates than teacher talk.

 

CRITICAL STANCE

Teaching to Transform Inequities

Empower students to transform society’s inequities through democracy and civic engagement.

Enacting level: The teacher consciously engages learners in interrogating conventional wisdom and practices, reflecting upon ramifications, and seeking actively to transform inequities within their scope of influence in the classroom and larger community.

 

References

Burkins, J.M. & Ritchie, S. (2007). Coaches coaching coaches. Journal of language and literacy education, 3(1), 32-47.

McClure, C.T. (2008). Teaching and learning for all. Teachers Teaching Teachers, 3(8), 10–11.

Teemant, A. (2018). Sociocultural theory as everyday practice: The challenge of K-12 teacher preparation for multilingual and multicultural learners. In J. Lantolf & M. Poehner (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of sociocultural theory and second language development (pp. 529–550). Routledge.

Teemant, A. (2018). Sociocultural theory as everyday practice: The challenge of K-12 teacher preparation for multilingual and multicultural learners. In J. Lantolf & M. Poehner (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of sociocultural theory and second language development (pp. 529–550). Routledge.


+ posts
Serena Tyra (sktyra@gmail.com) is a freelance educational consultant and pedagogical coach.
+ posts

Brandon Sherman (shermanb@iu.edu) is a researcher and project manager at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

+ posts

Annela Teemant (ateemant@iupui.edu) is professor of language education and principal investigator of pedagogical coaching at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.


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