Sorry that our February Pk3TeachLeadGrow.org Blog is a week late but the cold/flu season hit hard at my house and I was one of the victims. While there is NOT much good or fun that happens laying around in bed, waiting for medicine, sleep, and lots of hot tea to provide healing power, I did find that I had some time to catch up on a few of my professional journals. One of my favorites is The Learning Forward Journal: The Learning Professional and the December 2019 edition was especially great because it was ALL about coaching!
Instructional Coaching is at the HEART of how we know-n-grow individual and collective teaching practice and professionalism. Charlotte Danielson’s defines The Framework for Teaching Cluster 6: Professionalism as having three key FOCUS AREAS:
1) Continuous Professional Learning and improvement that is valued and consistently demonstrated through an inquiry-based, growth-focused, and results-oriented approach to professional engagement;
2) Collaboration with colleagues that occurs frequently, involves active engagement, and is characterized by commitment and trust; and
3) Honesty and Integrity that is consistently in the educator’s work and interactions with colleagues, families, community members, and students.
Instructional Coaching at it’s very best embodies all three of the focus areas of The Framework for Teaching’s Cluster 6: Professionalism. As I was skimming the journal, I was so excited to see that there was specific article, Bright and Early: Coaching Increase the Quality of Early Childhood Programs, all about the benefits of having a comprehensive coaching model in early learning classrooms! I encourage your read the whole article yourself but a few highlights regarding the key areas of professionalism include:
Early Learning Coaching Collaboration: Child360 coaching supports focus first and foremost on a relationship-based approach that emphasizes teaching strengths by asking questions such as, “What changes would be helpful in a given situation?”
Early Learning Coaching for Continuous Professional Learning: Coaches reported observing that teachers improved instructional and behavioral strategies that were collaboratively work on such as “increasing their ‘why’ questions, the teachers engaged the children further by having them analyze and reason their comments and ideas more deeply” and “I was able to work with _____ [teacher’s name] on supporting students with aggressive behaviors with strategies…that included helping the teacher practice mindfulness to remain calm.”
Early Learning Coaching with Honesty and Integrity: The Child360 requires coaches to have six core competencies that are aligned with foundational theories and core values: resourcefulness, professionalism, building relationships, facilitation of learning, clear communication, and reflective practice.
Carl Jung said, “If there is anything that we wish to change in a child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.”
Coaching and Collaborative Learning goes to the HEART of our PROFESSIONALISM as Early Learning Educators! It supports the reflective practice and dialogue that we ALL need to be able to better examine our impact on our young learners.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!