Instructional coaching is a constructive form of professional development for K-12 schools, and the key to its success is embedding it into the culture of the school, according to Edutopia’s school leadership blog.
Instructional coaching has the ability to enact change in a school or an entire district by creating a mindset on constant improvement.
Collaboration among teachers, and instructional coaches, can improve instructional practice but school leaders to create this culture of coaching to amplify its impact.
At a time in which teacher shortages are more prevalent, many districts are rethinking how best to support new and veteran teachers. Consequently, in order to properly support their teachers, district leaders and school administrators need to create an ecosystem in which instructional coaching is a consistent component of professional development.
Edutopia’s Brandon Johnson and Allison Rodman are both ASCD leaders and experienced school leaders. Allison is the founder of The Learning Loop, an education consulting organization, and Brandon has been featured in podcasts, published books, and articles around the subject of coaching. In their article detailing how to create a culture of coaching in your district, they illustrate effective coaching comes from creating a sense of purpose, norms, rituals and traditions, and storytelling.
Creating a sense of purpose. The first step in fostering a culture of coaching is to establish a common purpose among team members during the initial phases of implementation. By answering questions like why do we have a coaching program, and, what are the goals of our coaching program, school leaders can clearly define the reasoning for inputting energy into this initiative.
Establishing Norms. Norms provide order in your school and helps direct the behavior for faculty. By allowing your team to co-develop norms, you can address questions such as the frequency of coaching conversations, what the conversations will sound like, and what protocols are expected.
Promote Rituals and Traditions. It is essential for teachers to use rituals to foster supportive and learning-centered classrooms. Thus it is not surprising that district and school administrators need to build traditions around coaching in order to receive maximum buy-in.
Storytelling. Although most schools tend to feature success stories for both teachers and students, it is also imperative to engender stories around coaching. Take the opportunity to highlight exemplary work centered around your coaching program.
Instructional coaching is ultimately about building trust between a coach and a teacher. However, the groundwork for an effective coaching program is rooted in consistent messaging around purpose, norms, and process. Only then can coaches begin to focus on building strong relationships with their teachers.