Content-Focused Coaching and Lesson Study have both been identified as powerful professional learning processes. When they are interwoven and used in the service of developing the capacity of coaches, they are unbeatable!
MTLC’s unique and powerful practice of cultivating coaching communities across schools utilizing both coaching and study lessons has proven to be amazingly effective in developing the capacity of coaches. Coaching communities engage in a modified version of “lesson study” facilitated by a Master Coach, 4-8 times over the school year. These can be done in one or two-day sessions and sessions are customized and scheduled to serve school and district needs.
A session typically involves 6-12 coaches and/or teacher leaders and administrators. Participants alternate between coaching and being coached as they build their coaching capacity. Our Master Coaches immerse the group in the instructional core: planning, enacting, and reflecting on lessons in relation to evidence of student learning. Participates engage in a rigorous process of lesson planning that centers on learning to use curriculum materials mindfully in the service of student learning. Our planning process includes the use of research- based tools, involves naming the concepts to be taught and translating the concepts into “student language.” The process involves consideration of different pedagogical approaches and discussion of typical difficulties students encounter and what to do to ensure student learning.
Following our collaborative planning session, coaches reflect on the “coaching” that took place in the “fishbowl” between our Master Coach, the site-based coach, and a teacher. This segment of the work is a favorite among coaches and is a significant departure from traditional Lesson Study.
Next all participants study the impact of the preconference on the lesson by observing the lesson through specific lenses. Coaches learn to informally assess student learning through student dialogue and work samples. Coaches practice taking descriptive, verbatim, low-inference, notes to inform the post-conference discussion.
Our post-lesson discussion is first held among coaches and is a time to prepare the on-site coach for her post-conference with the teacher. The MTLC Master Coach and participating coaches help the on-site coach shape the conference by identifying the most important elements of the lesson to focus on and by the examination of the student comments and work samples collected. This process generates a great deal of learning among coaches as they sort out the various possibilities for the post-conference.
The on-site coach then debriefs the lesson with the teacher fishbowl-style and together they consider next steps in their learning process. This work might entail, providing written, actionable, feedback to each student; planning the summary meeting to ensure all students are learning the material; planning the following lesson; naming and identifying discussion moves and so on.
Through engagement in proven processes, participants expand their pedagogical content knowledge and instructional repertoire while simultaneously developing their capacity to coach others.
A great way to begin this work is by attending our Master Coaching Institute.
Find out how Master Coaches move an entire school or district to perform at higher and more satisfying levels of professionalism and significantly raise student achievement.