Two teachers strategies

coachmartinrichards

How much does a teacher's strategy affect what happens in the classroom?

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The Coach in the Classroom

Written by Co-Active Coach Martin Richards

The purpose of this book is to explore the question:

What happens when you use a coaching

approach in an educational environment?

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Contents

Contents.......................................................................................................2

Acknowledgements....................................................................................3

What is a Coaching Approach?................................................................4

Developing your coaching approach skills.............................................4

How to use this Book.................................................................................5

Coincidences................................................................................................9

Chapter 1: Inspiring Teenagers...............................................................27

Chapter 2: Attitude Makes a Difference................................................57

Chapter 3: Two Teachers’ Strategies......................................................75

Chapter 4: Classroom Fight.....................................................................93

Chapter 5: Give Up and Continue........................................................107

Chapter 6: Reading Aloud from the Book...........................................123

Chapter 7: More Talk, Less Control.....................................................139

Chapter 8: Wake Up Call.......................................................................169

Chapter 9: The Juvenile Criminal.........................................................187

Chapter 10: The Ambassador................................................................207

The Midwinter Vigil...............................................................................227

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017, (c) Martin Richards, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Web www.martinrichards.eu

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Acknowledgements

This book is the result of many collaborations, collaboration with the

many fictional characters portrayed in this book and collaboration

with real, living people, of whom the following deserve heartfelt

and special mentions:

Hetty Brand Boswijk, CPCC, for partnering with me in

our quest to write a book together. It is an ongoing

journey of learnings and revelations.

Michele Helman, CPCC, for accelerating and easing

the final stages of writing, reading and supportively

commenting on the need for this book to be published.

Elizabeth Nostedt, ACC, DTM, PMP for proofing and

commenting on an early version of the manuscript.

Vicky Jo Varner, PCC, CPCC, for repeatedly and

meticulously proofing and commenting on the later

manuscripts.

Jenny Geuken, for the original cover artwork.

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What is a Coaching Approach?

Certified coaches use a coaching approach, on the inside. A coaching

approach names what is happening inside their bodies and inside

their minds, while they are coaching. It could be called the hidden

skill of coaching, because it’s hidden. It is not always visible in what

they do, nor audible in what they say. It is, however, apparent in

what they do not do, and what they do not say. Certified coaches do

not, for example, judge the person they are coaching. That takes

practice. Nor do they offer their opinions or experience. That takes

even more practice. Not judging and not giving advice are two of

the most powerful hidden coaching skills. There are coaching skills

that are visible and audible, they include: asking great questions,

and listening actively.

Teaching using a 'Coaching Approach' is carrying out the work of a

teacher and 'making use of the skills of a coach'. The combination is

awesome.

Teachers who use a coaching approach, interact with students in an

authentic, self-developing, reflective manner. A description of the

coach's mind-set appears gradually in all the stories in this book, an

especially in Anthony's notes at the start of each campfire story.

Developing your coaching approach skills

Whatever your professional background, the best places to start

developing your coaching approach are the the hidden skills of:






Active listening

Non-judgement

Holding back personal opinions and advice

Being comfortable with not knowing what is right or wrong

Not knowing what will happen next.

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Riccardo

Midwinter’s

Tales

of

The Coach in the Classroom

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Chapter 3: Two Teachers’ Strategies

Riccardo had been asked to support two teachers as part of their

teaching strategies development. His official assignment was to

observe the teachers teach, and then coach them on what they

wanted to change to get even better results.

Riccardo met the two teachers in their small office. The first teacher

introduced herself as Anna. Her demeanour reminded Riccardo of

an industrious ant. She had beady brown eyes. Her silky, curly,

silver hair was very short and is worn in a practical, severe style. She

was very short and had a voluptuous build that Riccardo took a

moment to forget. Her wardrobe was weird, mostly greens and

blues.

The other teacher, Belle made him think of an elegant dragonfly

with large blue eyes like two sapphires. She was tall and of thin

build. Her skin was pale. Her clothes were utilitarian and rather

worn.

The room where they met, had two desks piled impossibly high

with books and students' work. Somewhere there was a desktop

computer, Riccardo could see the keyboard peeking out from under

a pile of photocopies. The two teachers introduced themselves:

"I am Anna. Pleased to meet you. I moved to this school eight years

ago, I was at similar school for many years before I moved here."

"My name is Belle, I’m new to the school, I have been here for three

years. Pleased to meet you too."

Riccardo shook them by the hand in turn and opens his mouth to

speak. He doesn’t have a chance to say anything before Anne shares

her view of the situation.

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Anna began, "You know the situation here, don't you?" and without

waiting for an answer she continued, "This secondary school has

recently taken in a high proportion of immigrant students. All of the

teen-aged students in our class recently moved to this country and

have yet to develop their speaking and writing skills in the local

language to the level naturally attained by their native-speaking

peers."

Belle explained, "Many of the teachers here are involved in a

government-funded training course where they are learning and

applying new teaching strategies which focus on more rapid

language development. In addition to the ongoing teaching

strategies training, several classes have two teachers in the

classroom."

Anna added, "That's why there are two of us!"

Riccardo jumped straight into the space Anna provided, "First of all

thank you both for inviting me to observe your lessons."

Anna, "We are looking forward to it. It's good to get feedback."

"I need to discuss a few things with you before we dive in. What

comes to my mind first is confidentiality."

Anna, "Yes?"

"Whatever happens, I will not share the coaching with anyone else."

Anna, "Why not?"

Belle, "If we learn something from this coaching, we want to share it

with our colleagues."

Anna, "What's the point of keeping it secret?"

"Sharing the learning is great. What I mean is, I won't share the

name of the school, or your names or…"

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Belle, "You wouldn't need to. There are hundreds of classes like

these. We are learning how to work in a language intensive way

with them. We are learning new techniques that we never learned

when we trained to be teachers. I never expected to be a language

teacher."

Anna, "Me neither."

Belle, "And I'm learning a lot by taking a look at how I teach, and

how Anna teaches."

Anna, "That's why we are so glad to have you come in and observe.

Our colleagues don't have the time."

"So it's OK with you that I share what I observe in your lesson?"

Anna, "Oh yes."

"Can I move on to some details then? What sort of things do you

want to improve, what do you want me to look at, and what do you

want me to not look at?"

Anna, "Not look at?"

"A lot can happen during a lesson, some things are relevant, some

are not. Is there anything I should ignore?"

Belle, "Ignore? No. Look at everything."

Anna, "Yes, we have nothing to hide. We want to be better teachers."

"What sort of things do you want to improve, what do you want me

to look at?"

Anna, "The students need to learn how to collaborate better."

Belle, "We need to be better at getting through to them. We are

running out of time."

"Collaborate. And ‘get through’ better. Which shall we focus on

first?"

Belle, "Getting through to them."

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"Getting through what?" asked Riccardo’s inner voice. "I will find out,"

replied Riccardo.

"How will I know how you are getting through to them? What are

the signs?"

Anna, "They keep up with the lesson."

Belle, "They focus on the lesson, not on whatever happened at

lunchtime. They pay attention."

"How will I know that they are paying attention?"

Anna, "They are reading in their books."

Belle, "They can answer our questions."

Anna, "They ask good questions. And they listen to each other."

Belle, "And they listen to us. We have a reading lesson that we want

you to observe. We are going to take it in turns to read from this

book."

Anna, "And while she reads, I write the keywords on the board,

words we expect are new or challenging for the students."

Belle, "Then we review the words."

Anna, "Then we swap, so they hear two different voices."

"If I understand you correctly, you want to know if you ‘get

through’ to the students, you want me to notice if the students are

‘paying attention’ when you are reading aloud, can answer

questions, ask their own good questions and listen to each other."

Belle, "Yes."

"And the aim is for you to get feedback on what else you could do

that might improve their attention and speed up the learning,

especially the language aspect."

Belle, "We look forward to getting some tips from you."

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"Tips? I don't give tips exactly. What I do is elicit the learning from

you, by coaching."

Belle, "Exciting. That sounds much better. But if you have any tips,

you will tell us won't you?"

Anna, "What would be the point of keeping it a secret?"

"There may be some tips, but I aim for them to come from you rather

than from me."

Anna, "Why?"

"Then you will believe in them more, and be more willing to try

something new."

Anna, "Hmm. OK."

"It sounds like this kind of coaching is new for you."

Anna, "Somewhat. I had thought you would observe then give

feedback and recommend what we could do better."

"That's what I thought coaching was before I got trained."

Belle, "There's a training for coaches?"

"And a certification."

Belle, "You're a certified coach. How long did that take?"

Riccardo grinned as he related, "It took me ten years. The training

course took half a year, with a hundred hours of structured practice

in the tools, techniques and mind-set of a coach, under the

supervision of two course leaders, plus hours of individual coaching

with an observer. The certification took just as long, with multiple

observers giving continuous feedback on my coaching skills for over

half a year. And then there was a written exam, but that was the

easiest part."

Belle, "Well, now I am expecting miracles!"

"That's a good frame of mind to be in."

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Anna, "Shall we move on?"

The observation took place the next day. Riccardo came to the

classroom just before the lesson was to start and was shown to an

empty seat at the back of the room. Anna and Belle took turns

reading aloud from a textbook, and expected the students to follow

along in their own copies of the book.

During this observation phase, Riccardo noticed something that was

happening with this class. The students were at times unruly,

challenging, and occasionally rude; and at other times collaborative,

playful, and supportive of each other. The observation tool revealed

that the different behaviours were connected to which teacher was

at the front of the room. It was tempting to come to the conclusion

that one teacher was good and the other was bad, but he knew that

would be counter-productive.

For Anna, the following occurred: every time a student interrupted,

Anna started over reading from the beginning of the sentence once

more, sounding a little bit peeved. The students played the game of

"winding up the teacher," and Anna would be successfully wound

up.

For Belle, the following occurred: whenever a student interrupted,

she smiled and continued reading in a calm voice, not allowing the

interruption to disturb the flow of her story. Students responded by

playing the game of "helping each other keep up with the reading."

During their coaching session, Riccardo planned to invite each

teacher to share their personal strategy around their portion of the

lesson.

"Don’t tell them what you saw; ask them what they saw," cautioned

the voice. "I will," replied Riccardo; "thanks for the reminder."

"What did you notice was going on during the lesson?"

Belle, "I thought you were going to tell us!"

"I could, and I may do after you have reflected back on your lesson."

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Anna, "You want us to reflect on how we work?"

"Yes. What did you notice was going on during the lesson?"

Anna, "It was about the same as usual, some students were

interrupting the others, and getting into conversations that had

nothing to do with the lesson."

Belle, "But they listened to us, and each other, for the most part."

Anna, "Not as much as I would like. They waste a lot of time

arguing about nothing."

"So … what did you notice was going on during the lesson?"

Belle, "We talked, they listened."

Anna, "and then they would interrupt."

"Interrupt who?"

Anna, "Me, when I was talking."

"How true is that for you Belle?"

Belle, "I hear them speaking, but it doesn't stop me reading."

Anna, "But then they aren't listening properly!"

"How true is that for you Anna?"

Anna, "When I am reading I want them to listen, or they won't hear

what I'm reading and then they can't follow in the book."

Riccardo blurted out, "You have different strategies!"

Anna, "We do?"

"Where does your energy go during the lesson, Belle?

Belle, "On keeping my focus on reading from the book, moving

ahead all the time

Anna, "On stopping the interruptions."

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"What are you noticing about your strategies, the ways you each

deal with these students?"

Anna, "I think it's important to remember that the students will

learn when they are listening; my job is to get them to listen."

Belle, "I believe that when the students feel they are learning, they

will listen; my job is to help them feel they are learning."

"What next?" asked the voice. "What creative thing are you going to

come up with?" "Wait and see," teased Riccardo.

Anna, "So which one is right?"

"What if neither strategy was wrong, but both contained something

that is right?"

Anna, "So what's right about her way?"

"How could you find out?"

Anna, "I could observe her."

"What might you see or hear?"

Anna, "I guess I could have seen or heard it today, but I was

focusing on what I was doing."

"So how could you see or hear what happens when you focus on

something else?"

Anna, "What else could I focus on?"

"What's possible?"

Anna, "I think you will have to tell me. I'm not seeing it."

"What if you tried out her strategy for yourself?"

Anna, "What you mean read from the book and ignore the

interruptions?"

"How different would that be?"

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Anna, "I don't know."

"How challenging would that be?"

Anna, "Really hard."

"How willing are you to try that strategy?"

Anna, "I will give it a go. Sure, why not. It works for you. Are you

going to try my strategy?"

Belle, "You mean focus on keeping the interruptions down?"

Anna, "Yeah, so they are quiet and listen to you properly."

Belle, "OK. Why not. It would be different. And I think the students

will enjoy us doing something different."

"Where are we now? What have we decided to do?"

Anna, "I am going to plough through the text and not let them

interrupt me (laughs)."

Belle, "And I am going to spend time nipping every interruption

until they are quiet; before I read aloud."

"And what do you hope to learn from that?"

Anna, "I hope to learn what it takes to plough on regardless. I see

they listen to you and it must be something in the way you read to

them."

Belle, "I expect I will see the interruptions that I usually ignore. It

will be a refreshing change. I'm sure I will learn something."

During the next lesson, Anna used Belle's strategy, "Please turn to

page 64 and read along with me, as usual." The students initially

tried to play their usual game of interruptions.

"What page?"

"Where? I can’t find it!"

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Anna began reading, slowly at first, then a little more quickly. She

wasn’t slowing down or stopping this time.

Two students began walking around the class, chatting with

classmates. Anna bit her lip to prevent her usual comments from

coming out. She continued reading aloud. The students finally

found a place to sit and read along in their books.

One girl at the front, turned around to a classmate and began a

conversation. Anna pursed her lips and, with an effort that could be

heard in the strain in her voice, she continued reading.

The girl found the right place in the book; and read along, silently

mouthing the words that Anna was saying.

Anna’s reading voice eased as the class rad along with her, without

interruptions until she got to the bottom of page 66.

When it was Belle’s turn to speak, she used Anna's strategy. "OK, so

we continue from the top of page 67. Belle began reading the first

lines, then she saw that one student was standing up;

"Jon, sit down!" she commanded.

Belle started on page 67, and read those lines again and noticed two

students needed to share a book.

"Talaal, would you share your book with Amed," Belle asked

politely.

Belle read the same lines again and noticed one student had turned

around and was chatting with a classmate behind her.

"Haseena, face this way please," Belle cajoled.

With a small cough to cover up an unwanted smile, Belle started

reading the first lines again.

Several students glanced at each other and laughed at their

newfound power over Belle, enjoyed it for a couple of minutes, then

resumed their normal behaviour with her, that of helping one

another to keep up with the reading.

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Belle grew tired of catching all the interruptions and continued

reading her part of the text as she usually did.

Riccardo was greatly satisfied with the outcome of this observation

and coaching. The outcome was a testament to the teachers

willingness to be observed, to uncover and share their strategies in

an atmosphere of collaboration and curiosity. What pleased

Riccardo most was the simplicity of the process. The teachers’ key

questions had initially sounded vague, difficult to observe and

measure in any specific way; yet it was those vague questions that

opened the door to their classroom so that he, Riccardo, could see

how they were communicating with the students and what they

were getting across to them. Perhaps the teachers had not expected

to reveal their teaching strategies in this way, but they were glad

that they had done so. Riccardo suspected that these two teachers, in

the near future despite the limitations of their timetables, were going

to find time to discuss and share even more of their strategies. That

would further benefit the students. Riccardo had plenty of reasons

to feel gratified.

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