Classroom fight

coachmartinrichards

When you are exhausted, and a fight breaks out at the back of your classroom, what do you do?

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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 4: Classroom Fight

It was the headteacher, Randolph, who told Riccardo why the school

board had invested in coaching. Randolph’s appearance had

immediately put Riccardo in mind of a tenacious canine. He had

large brown eyes and his face was cleft by a hooked nose and bushy

eyebrows that divided his face. Randolph’s hair was fine, straight, of

a pale-yellow colour and of medium-length pulled back behind his

ears. On his chin bristled three days of dark stubble. Randolph was

very tall with a masculine build which made Riccardo seem frail by

comparison. Randolph’s wardrobe was artistic and tightly sewn,

with a lot of orange and brown, which appealed to Riccardo’s

appreciation for the colours of autumn.

"The teachers at the school", Randolph said, "were recently inspected

and found to be lacking certain skills in a variety of areas. However,

no single skill area was seriously lacking throughout the entire

staff," Randolph stated, lifting his chin with pride. "I have offered

selected teachers the opportunity of being coached – following their

individualised professional development plan," he continued. "I

want to be clear, this coaching is offered on an individual and

voluntary basis. It was not offered to all the teachers." Randolph

growled with the determination in his explanation, "They each have

different needs. Some of them have chosen to receive training,

others individual coaching. Some, for a variety of reasons, have

opted to be both observed whilst teaching and then coached

afterwards.

That's where you come in," Randolph commanded, "You can start

with Jayne." He handed Riccardo a piece of paper with her handwritten

name and phone number. That seemed to be the end of the

meeting. Randolph went quiet, nodded his approval of their silent

agreement, and returned his bristly canine gaze to the computer

screen in front of him. Riccardo recognised the signals as having

been given permission to leave the room and go about his coaching

assignment in the way that he, and Jayne, chose. No further

comment was necessary. No reporting was necessary. The details

would reveal themselves when he met Jayne.

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Riccardo called Jayne to make an appointment. He met Jayne in her

classroom after her last lesson of the day. There was something

about Jayne made Riccardo think of a curious squirrel. Perhaps it

was the speed at which her hands moved? Her eyes were the colour

of an overcast sky. Her thick, straight, charcoal-coloured hair was

very long and she wore it tied back in a dignified, practical style. She

had a matronly build. Her wardrobe was classy, with a lot of green

and silver. Autumn or spring? wondered Riccardo.

Jayne was gathering papers from the students' desks. She greeted

Riccardo cheerfully but it was clear from her half-closed eyes that

this had been a tiring day.

"How are you doing?" Riccardo asked, suspecting that Jayne might

have a headache.

"One of those days," replied Jayne.

"Is this bad timing? We would need at least half an hour to start the

coaching, and set up the observation.

Jayne, "I can give you half an hour."

"Do you need anything? Coffee? Water? A walk?

Jayne confirmed, "No, I will do that later."

"Shall we get straight into it then?" Hoping he was being efficient

and not aggressive.

"Sure," said Jayne, sitting down, papers in front of her.

"What made you choose to have coaching?"

Jayne, "I need it. I need to learn how to manage my energy, or I will

go home exhausted every day. And I know where that leads," Jayne

sighed.

"I can see that you have used up almost all your energy today. You

are taking good care of yourself by giving me no more than thirty

minutes of your time."

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"Yes, half an hour," she sighed.

"May I ask, how long has this been going on?"

"I have been a teacher for twenty-two years and last year I took a

whole term off work due to exhaustion." Several emotions ran across

her face.

"Bravery. Courage," said Riccardo's inner voice, "regret, shame and fear."

Riccardo asked, "What brought you back?"

"The students!" Jayne stated firmly.

Riccardo asked, "What do you mean?"

"I love working with the students." There was passion in her voice.

"You love working with them, and you get exhausted."

"Yes."

"What's happening so that you get exhausted?"

Jayne launched into, "The students don't listen to instructions or

information or directions. They seem to treat school like a coffee

shop, they talk and talk about whatever they got up to yesterday,

who said what and to whom, and then they talk about what they

will do at the weekend."

"That sounds like a challenge." waited while Jayne landed again

before he asked, "What do you love about working with the

students?"

Jayne reveals, "When they focus, they learn. I love to see when they

learn how to do something that they couldn't do before. They shine."

"What shines?"

"Their eyes. They understand that they can learn. And I know that I

have been a part of that. It's what keeps me coming back."

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"It is so refreshing to hear you say that, about seeing the learning in

their eyes. It sounds like that is what keeps you going through the

day, and coming back the next day?" Riccardo queried.

"Every day."

"What is it that you want me to observe?"

"I'm trying something different. I am teaching them using as little

effort as possible."

"You are teaching, using little effort. How is that working out?"

"Not so well. I still get drawn into their unending questions"

"Questions?" queried Riccardo.

Jayne's voice rose as she said, "They ask and ask and ask the same

questions over and over again and again. They expect personal

explanations. They take no responsibility for finding out what to do,

how to do it or what quality is expected or appropriate!"

"That must be draining on your energy," Riccardo acknowledged.

"What do you want to achieve by using as little effort as possible?"

"Firstly, I am taking care of myself."

Riccardo recalled the airline safety instructions 'In the event of a

drop in cabin pressure' and how parents should take care of

themselves before taking care of their children.

He nodded in approval, "That is very strong of you, to take care of

yourself first, then the children."

Jayne continued, "Then, I hope that by being less helpful, by

answering fewer questions and being clear that my instructions are

given once, for everyone to listen to, and follow, and not giving

personalised instructions to each and every student over and over

again…"

Riccardo jumped ahead of Jayne's spiralling energy, "You will save

your energy."

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"Exactly!" exclaimed Jayne, emotionally slapping the desk with a

thump.

"I understand. How can I help?"

"Would you be an extra pair of eyes and see what goes on behind

my back?" she requested.

Riccardo nodded in agreement.

Jayne told him, "I expect the students to work on their assignments

without me having to stand over them. Can you see if they are

engaged in their work when I am not standing over them?"

Riccardo wrote that down then asked, "Not standing over them? So

where are you standing then?"

"I do want to visit every student during the lesson, to support them,

but I often start at the front of the room."

"Would it be useful if I tracked where you stand during the lesson?"

"Hmm. Yes, that could be useful. Perhaps I get stuck at some desks

for longer than others. I would see who is taking up my time, and

energy. And you could see which students are working, and which

are not. Then I would have something real to share with them, not

just my impressions of how they work."

Riccardo drew a plan of the classroom showing the students sitting

at their desks. He would write 'yes' or 'no' every five minutes

depending on whether the students were working on their

assignment or not. He made ten copies of this plan to be used during

the one-hour lesson.

On the day of the observation came into the classroom at the start of

the lesson. Riccardo could see that there were twenty-five students

plus Jayne and a young man.

Riccardo asked Jayne, "What does the young man do?"

"He's an assistant, he supports one particular student, the one sitting

at the back of the room."

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Riccardo saw that the assistant and his charge were disagreeing

about the arrangement of books and papers on their desk at the back

of the room.

Jayne began the lesson at the front of the room by the whiteboard

reviewing the written instructions from the previous lesson. She

invited the students to continue their work up until ten minutes

before the end of the lesson, when she expected them to have

finished their written stories and would collect them for marking

over the weekend.

"There will be time for some fun at the end of the lesson," Jayne

promised her students.

The students already had their books to hand and began reading

what they had started writing in the previous lesson. There was a

sense that this lesson had started well. It seemed that everyone was

already working.

Jayne then strolled around the room, lightly engaging with the

students but not tackling any discipline issues except for asking,

"How are you getting on?" She didn’t provide detailed answers to

their many and repeated questions either, except for saying, "Look at

your notes from the last lesson."

Riccardo used the room map to track where Jayne walked and

stood. He used the sheets to note which groups of students were

working and which were not. The lesson proceeded with the sounds

of pencils scratching across paper and the occasional flip of a page

and scuffle of shoes on the floor. Riccardo relaxed into the smooth

rhythm of the lesson and repeated the noting procedure five

minutes later, and was about to start the third page when a loud

disturbance of voices at the back of the room caught his attention.

Turning to the source of the disturbance, Riccardo saw the assistant

and his young student were having what might be described as a

wrestling match. The student was apparently trying to hit the

assistant, and the assistant was defending himself by holding onto

the student’s wrists.

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The students nearest the disturbance turned to watch.

Riccardo looked for Jayne. Where was she? She was attending to

another student elsewhere in the room and had her back to the

disturbance. Riccardo was certain, if he could hear the disturbance,

then she too could hear what was going on behind her. After a

minute, Jayne spun round and walked determinedly over to this

wrestling pair. Riccardo’s eyes and ears widened, excited to hear

what she was about to say and to see what she was going to do in

order to resolve this tense and escalating situation.

"A teachable moment," said the voice. "A coachable moment," replied

Riccardo.

As Jayne approached, the pair stopped wrestling and looked at her.

In that moment, Jayne asked the student, with authority and

curiosity, "How happy are you with the work you’ve done so far?"

The student immediately let go of the assistant's hands, refocused

his attention on the work in front of him and replied, "Well, not

very."

Jayne encouraged the student, inviting him, "Would you like to

continue until you are satisfied? It would be good if you could finish

before the end of the lesson." She walked away without engaging

the student or the assistant in further conversation.

The students who had been following the drama saw how Jayne had

taken care of the classmate. After briefly making eye contact with

each other, they returned to their work with brighter eyes.

Jayne's intervention seemed to have cleared the air; the student and

assistant went about their duties in an orderly fashion.

Ten minutes before the end of the lesson Jayne invited the students

to hand in their work, "That's all we have time for, and I would like

you to bring your work just as it is, and put it in this tray. I will

mark them over the weekend and we will talk about it on Tuesday

when we meet again. Now we have time for something fun before

we leave."

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The last minutes of the lesson were devoted to the whole class

jointly solving a crossword puzzle. The students worked in pairs

and eagerly solved their assigned clues for the puzzle. Jayne stood at

the front of the room and collated their answers on the grid

projected on the whiteboard. Even the assistant and his charge were

enthusiastically involved all the way to the end of the lesson, when

they, along with the others students in the class, were dismissed.

The classroom echoed with the sound of Jaynes shoes as she tidied

the desks and prepared to leave. Jayne came over to Riccardo and

asked, "What did you observe with your extra pair of eyes?"

"I saw a brilliant coach in action."

"Oh! Really?"

"We can take that up in the coaching session if you like."

"That would be interesting. I never thought of myself as a coach."

The coaching session came at the end of Jayne’s day. They met in her

room. Riccardo asked how Jayne was feeling, then moved to the

coaching.

Riccardo began with, "What happened during the lesson?

"The usual. I kept my energy down to a minimum. When they asked

for instructions I referred them to the notes we wrote yesterday and

let them work until they were finished with their stories."

Riccardo insisted, " Jayne, what happened during the lesson?"

"Oh, you mean with the assistant?"

"Yes, what happened during the lesson there?"

"I think the assistant needs to look for a different job."

"And what happened within you during that moment?"

"I was really angry with him. He shouldn't be fighting."

"Who are we talking about?"

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"The assistant!"

Riccardo steered the conversation, "May I bring your attention to the

student?"

"Oh, he was alright"

"What happened when you spoke with the student?"

"I just asked him to get on with his work."

"How much energy did you use when you did that?"

"Very little. I asked him how much he had done and what he had

left to get on with. It was a lot easier than getting into an argument."

Riccardo confirmed, "You got the student back to work in a very

coach-like way. You saved your energy, you took care of your

health, you took care of the students, relying on him to self-manage.

It was brilliant."

"Yes, you said so at the end of the lesson."

Riccardo wondered, "How did you feel when you heard me call you

a brilliant coach?"

"It felt, new."

"Perhaps you are using coaching more than you know."

"What do you mean using coaching?"

"May I tell you about the coaching skills?"

"OK. This will be interesting. Are you saying that I should be a

coach?"

Riccardo declared, "Perhaps? That's for you to decide. I recognised

what you did regarding minimising your energy and supporting

that student to learn and take greater accountability for his work, as

being coach-like."

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Setting the Foundation: Meeting ethical guidelines and professional

standards, Establishing the coaching agreement

Co-creating the relationship: Establishing trust and intimacy with

the client, Coaching presence

Communicating effectively: Active listening, Powerful questioning,

Direct communication

Facilitating learning and results: Creating awareness, Designing

actions, Planning and goal-setting, Managing progress and

accountability

Riccardo asked Jayne about her coaching skills, "Which skills do you

recognize and used, especially in that situation with the student?

"That part about facilitating learning and results sounds like

teaching."

"And when you spoke with that student, what coaching skills did

you use?"

"Was it creating awareness, designing actions and managing

accountability?"

"You achieved all of that in two simple sentences. I was impressed.

That's why I called you a brilliant coach," Riccardo restated.

"You may be right, I was being more of a coach than a teacher."

"How does that relate to your goal of managing your energy?"

"If it will save me energy, and still help the students then I am all for

it."

"Something to look into further?"

"I think so. May I have that list?"

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