Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cognitive Coaching, Take 2

Day 2 of the Cognitive Coaching Seminar was as big of a hit as Day 1. I had many ah-ha moments that validated my coaching practices, but just as many pondering oh-yeah moments that will help me deliver deeper professional development, focus my planning conversations with teachers, and pay closer attention to non-verbal cues.

Our agenda consisted of
  • Homework Review
  • Why Coach?
  • The Planning Conversation
  • Cognitive Coaching Capabilities
  • Coaching Tools: paraphrasing and pausing
  • Homework & Closure.

My first ah-ha moment occurred in our dialogue on Why Coach? based on Joyce and Showers Research on Training. I was fascinated and quickly self-assessed the types of training we provide at The Creek, and the successes we've had implementing the America's Choice School Design. As I host hundreds of visitors each year, they always ask, "How did you get from where you were (21% of students achieving at standard in math and 54% at standard in reading) to where you are now (95% of students achieving at standard in math, reading, writing, and 80% in science)? This piece of research may answer that question on how we've gotten transfer from Professional Development into classroom practice. This piece also left me thinking about the components we haven't had as much success with like shared reading and in some cases guided reading. Take a look at this table.

Basically, the research table shows that if during Professinal Development, you study theory only 10% of teachers will gain knowledge and 5% skill, but there will be 0% transfer into the classroom. (This to me, may be accurate for a book study that has no follow-up.) If the PD consists of the study of theory and provides demonstration, then 30% of participants will gain knowledge, 20% skills, but still there is 0% transfer back into the classroom. (At Chets, this may be studying the research of Skills Block and then going to watch a Skills Block demonstration lesson, but not practicing or getting peer coaching.) If the PD consists of the study of theory, watching of demonstration, and practice, you will see 60% of the participants gaining knowledge, 60% gaining skills, but still I was surprised that only 5% transferred into practice. (I'm imagining studying the theory behind administering DRA's, watching a teacher administer a DRA, and then practicing administering a DRA yourself. But, then not having Peer Coaching.) On the other hand, if the PD consists of theory, demonstration, practice, and peer coaching, you will have 95% of participants gaining knowledge, 95% gaining skill, and a 95% transfer back into classroom practice. That is huge! After all, does it really matter what a teacher knows if it doesn't impact classroom instruction and student achievement? To me, now, the only type of training that makes any sense is the full array of theory, demonstration, practice, and peer coaching. As always, the barriers are time and money. So, we must embrace out of the box thinking to overcome these obstacles, because our teachers and our students deserve researched based best practices embedded in practice. It may be the only thing that will raise student achievement levels.

Next, we studied the Nine Outcomes of Cognitive Coaching and how to hold a Planning Conversation. I'm not sharing the Planning Conversation with you, because too many of my own teachers read this blog. They will get to experience, first hand, my new planning questions. :)

The paraphrasing and pausing coaching tools were informative as well, especially the Eye Accessing Cues which after practice in the school setting, I will be sharing with you.

Embedded into all our training throughout the two days were the study of theory, the watching of demonstration, and practice. I'm going to role out the training with my Leadership Team so they can assist in Peer Coaching me. After all, I do want my new knowledge to transfer into my coaching practice.

Our homework has us seeking out opportunities for formal and informal planning conversations, conducting self-mediated planning conversations, and practicing isolated skills like rapport, pausing, and paraphrasing.

I had to laugh as we began packing up, because the lasting image of the day's events was the comic on the big screen of a dog steadying himself on a high wire which read: High above the hushed crowd, Rex tried to remain focused. Still he couldn't shake one nagging thought. He was an old dog and this is a new trick.


dayle timmons said...

This is fascinating. Can't wait until you get back!

Melanie Holtsman said...

Can we ALL go to this training? It sounds great. Can't wait to hear how you're synthesizing it to change our practice since that is where you are THE Pro. :)

Mrs. Nash said...

Still totally jealous...and along for the ride! :)