Reading aloud from the book

coachmartinrichards

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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 6: Reading Aloud from the Book

Margaret had been working at this primary school for many years.

At sixty years of age, she was close to retirement. This tired, lonely

woman had almond-shaped grey eyes that were like two pools of

mercury. Her silky, wavy, black hair was tied back and it moved in a

way that reminded Riccardo of a cobra's hood. She stood tall and

straight. Her thin eyebrows and pointed chin held Riccardo’s

attention as she told him, "The children here are full of youthful

energy and generally well-behaved towards each other and their

teachers."

"That's certainly how it felt when I was walking through the school

just now," agreed Riccardo. On his way to Margaret’s room, he had

been greeted by students who had asked him who he was, why he

was there and what his name was.

Margaret’s classroom was well-organised, librarian-style, with three

columns of paired desks and seats. The walls were decorated with

colourful and informative posters and instructions; including the

Rules which included the directive ‘Listen to learn.’

"How does this coaching work?" Margaret demanded, standing in

front of her whiteboard with her arms across her chest.

"You choose something you would like me to observe and then I

come to one of your lessons and listen, observe, take notes.

Afterwards, we reflect on what was working well, and what could

be improved."

"Straightforward."

"What would you like the observation to focus on?

"What can I do to get across to these children?" was Margaret’s

response.

"She must know how to do that after all these years," wondered

Riccardo’s inner voice.

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"I'm curious what the motivation is behind that observation

question."

"I want to be the best possible teacher I can be. I never expected to be

this challenged so close to the end of my career as a teacher," she

confided.

"Challenged?" The voice jumped in upon hearing the word. "What is

challenging her?" "I will find out." Riccardo thanked the voice for the

reminder.

"What do you mean 'challenged'?"

Margaret shared with Riccardo some of the incidents that had

challenged the flow of learning in the classroom over the past few

months.

"What I don’t understand is why these children have to interrupt me

and each other all the time with nonsense stories. I can’t get them to

focus on the work we have to do. They aren’t like the children I am

used to teaching, they don’t engage in school work like they are

supposed to. I have been teaching for many years. I have taught

some of their parents. They never gave me problems like these

children do. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. Bad parenting?

Too much TV or mobile phones? I really don’t know."

Through the honest delivery of her story, Riccardo heard her many

years’ experience of teaching being brought to bear on a situation

that was new for her.

"This will be my last class. I will stay with them until I retire. Several

children have distinctive and challenging behaviours, learning

difficulties I suppose you could call them, and collaboration issues

too. I have never seen this before, not so strongly. It's more than just

naughty behaviour. It's bad upbringing, I think. Or media

distraction. They have little respect for teachers. I have had written

reports from doctors, therapists, and counsellors, as well as from the

teachers and parents of all these students," Margaret sighed, shaking

her cowl of black wavy hair as she lowered her head.

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"Ask about her values," hinted the inner voice.

Riccardo asked, "How good of a teacher are you, and how do you

know?"

Margaret stabbed Riccardo with her grey cobra eyes, uncertain of

what he was asking and said, "I don’t know. How would you

describe a good teacher?"

"What words could we use to describe a good teacher? We could

Google it," added Riccardo avoiding Margaret’s sharp eyes.

They did a little research online and discovered some useful traits of

good teachers:

Confident

Innovative

Resilient

Perceptive

Reflective

Curious

Inclusive

With the list in front of them, the conversation eased somewhat.

"Reconnect with her passion for teaching!" encouraged Riccardo’s inner

voice.

Riccardo asked, "Do you remember how it felt to become a teacher,

at the beginning of your career?"

Margaret, "Both my parents were educators. It's in the family... and

she shared with him from her heart about her deep desire to be an

inspiration and role model for young people.

Riccardo then asked, "How well are you living up to that today?"

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Margaret's demeanour changing immediately, she snapped

venomously at Riccardo, "I am doing everything I can to inspire the

students to learn about things that are important."

"Are we communicating?" queried the inner voice. "Or are we playing at

being coach and coachee?" "Ouch," replied Riccardo, not knowing how to

respond to his own cutting question.

Riccardo laboured on, "Perhaps we could plan which days you

would like me to come and observe you? You wanted to know, ‘Are

you getting across to the pupils’ – how will I see or hear that during

the lesson?"

"Keep your eyes and ears open and you will see and hear it well

enough. You could write a note of whether the pupils’ comments,

interruptions, and answers are relevant to the day's topic. Then we

can see what's really happening."

They compiled an observation list together:

Student’s name:

Comment on topic / off topic

Interruption (spontaneous)

Answer (asked by teacher)

Happy that they had come to a mutual agreement about the

observation, Margaret indicated that she needed to prepare for

lessons later that day, so Riccardo thanked her for her time and left

the room. Although they seemed to be on the same page regarding

the observation, Riccardo had an uneasy feeling that they were not

on the same page at all. Something was missing. And it was going to

make itself known pretty soon.

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For the observation, Riccardo went to sit at the back of the room

with the observation list as agreed. At the start of the lesson,

Margaret greeted and chatted with the children one by one as they

came in from their lunch break. She knew every one of them by

name and what they had been up to during the week, and in

particular during this break time. The children sat in pairs by rows

and Margaret stood at the front of the class with the textbook open

and pierced the children with her eyes.

Margaret presented Riccardo to the class as her teacher. The children

were amazed, turned round to look at Riccardo and began talking

with him. Margaret quickly brought their attention back to the

lesson with a few sharp words.

"That's enough of that!"

Margaret introduced the topic for the lesson and set the work in the

context of the term’s work at this grade level. "We have come to

page twenty-three ‘Magnetism’ and we have done the experiments

from the bottom of the page, so now we are going to read page

twenty-three and twenty-four together."

She invited selected children to read a paragraph aloud as the rest of

the class listened in silence. Some of the children struggled to read

aloud. From time to time, Margaret shushed interruptions from

children who made comments on what was said, or how it was

being pronounced.

"How well is she getting across to them?" asked the voice. "How much is

she playing the role of being the teacher?" "I don’t know yet," replied

Riccardo.

After each paragraph, Margaret added her comments, linking this

topic to earlier topics, "You see how important iron is. We learned

about iron ore last week and whereabouts in the world we could dig

for iron ore. What is iron ore called?"

"David, what is iron ore called?". David did not answer.

"No? What about you Anna?". Anna did not answer either.

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Throwing a glance at Riccardo, she commented, "We can come back

to that next week when we look at the Iron Age, again."

From time to time Margaret asked a question to elicit the children's’

experiences, "Who knows where you could buy iron?"

One child made a joke about a steam iron.

"Not a steam iron, iron, the metal. That’s what we are talking about.

Pay attention!"

Riccardo noted that this type of cutting exchange happened several

times. Margaret seldom received a response that she was happy

with. Either there was a silence, or some children started to

comment on whatever else was concerning them at that moment.

It took fifteen minutes for the children to finally read through the

page and a half of notes in the book. Margaret told the children to

answer the questions at the bottom of page twenty-four and start the

essay in the lesson time, and complete it for homework. Riccardo felt

that he had enough notes to answer Margaret’s question about

getting across to the children. He nodded his thanks to Margaret,

and left the classroom and tramped slowly to the staffroom

wondering how he would broach the subject with Margaret in the

coaching session.

During the coaching session that followed, Riccardo and Margaret

reviewed Riccardo’s notes, which confirmed that many of the

children's’ comments were spontaneous and irrelevant, and her

eliciting questions were poorly answered, if at all. This information

was beginning to anger Margaret whose grey eyes began to burn red

around the rims.

On an impulse, Riccardo got up and wrote on the board the

headings "Strategy" and "Response," and added some quick notes

about Margaret’s current strategy and the children’s current

responses as recorded during the observation.

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Strategy #1 "Children read aloud from the book"

Response #1 "Some children struggle to read aloud.

Certain students heckle the reader"

Strategy #2 "Ask named child, a factual question"

Response #2 "No answer"

Strategy #3 "Ask any of all children, to share an

experience"

Response #3 "Cheeky answers from one or two specific

children"

Riccardo then asked Margaret, "What response would you like to

have, if only you knew the strategy to get there?" Margaret

described several responses she would like to encounter from the

students. Riccardo crossed out the students’ current response and

wrote the desired response in their stead.

Strategy #1 "Children read aloud from the book"

Response #1 "Everyone listens, and learns"

Strategy #2 "Ask named child, a factual question"

Response #2 "Correct answer"

Strategy #3 "Ask any of all children, to share an

experience"

Response #3 "Interesting answers from even the quiet

children"

Riccardo then erased Margaret’s current strategies:

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Strategy #1 " "

Response #1 "Everyone listens, and learns"

Strategy #2 " "

Response #2 "Correct answer"

Strategy #3 " "

Response #3 "Interesting answers from even the quiet

children"

Riccardo invited Margaret to, "think of something different,

something out of the box, something out of a book, something

opposite, something you’ve never done before."

This inquiry did not go down well with Margaret. At all. Her

frustration was tangible, her black hair quivered as she shook her

head in despair.

Riccardo pressed, "How willing are you to try other strategies

without knowing whether or not they worked?"

Her grey eyes breathed flames as she insisted, "My teaching strategy

is fine. The children needed to grow up and behave properly!"

At this point, the look in Margaret’s eyes worried him.

Regardless, Riccardo continued, "What do you think is likely to

happen if you continue with your current strategy in this class?"

Margaret shrieked, "I want to change this class!"

Riccardo needled, "How possible do you think it is to change the

class, or change to another class, or to change your strategy?"

At that point, Margaret howled, "No! I am going to continue with

my class, with the same strategies, and end this coaching. It has not

given me anything useful, at all!"

Her words thanked Riccardo. "Thank you, and goodbye." Her eyes

cut him in half.

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Sitting in the staff room with a cup of coffee after the coaching

session, Riccardo became increasingly angry at his own part in the

story, his arrogance, pushing beyond what Margaret was

comfortable with, bringing in his own agenda for suggestions. The

coffee was too hot to drink, but he took a mouthful anyway. It hurt.

He felt there was so much she could do. The children's’ comments

that she shushed were the source of her frustration and at the same

time, the keys to developing a better relationship with them. He

blew steam off the coffee, wishing it would cool down soon. He

asked himself, ‘Is she getting across to them?’ Yes, and she is also

telling them that their comments are not worthy of being listened to.

By suppressing their comments she was suppressing the children

and they were pushing back. Of course, they were! Riccardo slurped

the hot coffee. Did she hope to be able to hold everything down for

the next couple of years?

"What are you most disappointed about?" Riccardo’s inner voice

interrupted Riccardo’s flow of self-recrimination.

"Not checking on her willingness to be coached," returned Riccardo

immediately. "I knew it. I felt there was something wrong and I still

continued coaching her and teaching her anyway." Riccardo gulped

a mouthful of hot coffee as punishment.

"What are you most pleased about?"Riccardo’s inner voice broke in again.

After a moment of self-reflection, Riccardo found something he was

pleased about, "In the end, I did ask her how willing she was to

change her strategy. I did ask," Riccardo defended himself against

his own accusation. But it wasn’t enough.

"And...?" prompted the inner voice.

Riccardo jumped in, "And what have I learned?" he asked himself.

"To ask that question first, about willingness to change, before it is

needed."

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Somewhat more pleased with himself now, Riccardo waited whilst

the coffee cooled down, drank it more out of duty than enjoyment,

and decided to treat himself to a better cup of coffee on the way

home. In the end, all that mattered was that he had learned a

valuable lesson. Ask how willing the teacher is to consider and

modify their teaching strategies. Ask that question. Ask it first.

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