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Coaching for Impact in Education

Coaching for Impact in Education

How does coaching have an impact on organisational improvement?

Using coaching for impact in education is powerful. It is an essential element of systems redesign in a school or college and has proven significant and far-reaching benefits. Put simply coaching is about dialogue, creating opportunities for a two-way conversation that is positive and solutions focused. Creating a coaching culture has many benefits in an education setting.

Coaching creates a culture of shared responsibility

Planning strategy, implementing the vision for school improvement, the ambition for curriculum innovation and the rationale for organisational change all require collaboration with and trust in the decision makers. Devolved leadership, especially now, is essential and coaching creates the framework for this to happen.  Where leaders believe in their staff there is a culture that expects them to grow in their role. Where leaders convey the tacit understanding that they don’t have all the answers and trust their teams positive change happens.

How does coaching deliver the vision?

Working together to deliver a learning synergy

The role of the leader is to inspire all staff to achieve the carefully crafted vision linked to positive outcomes for all. Senior leaders must have the influencing skills to communicate that vision and create an inspirational canvas so that teaching and learning, curriculum innovation and the well-being and motivation of staff and learners is woven.  Defining the priorities and entrusting successful implementation requires a coalition of talented senior teams. They must work together to empower others to be instrumental in making change happen.

Transformation comes when individuals work together successfully to deliver mutually agreed goals that focus on positive change, exciting innovation, and who will foster powerful learning conversations.  Creating a coaching culture has a significant impact on how teams collaborate, communicate and inspire change.  Join us for our one day course and learn the skills, plan your strategy and be inspired to take back your learning to cascade to others.

Strategies for Leading a Coaching Culture in a School or College

How does coaching inspire middle and subject leadership teams?

Where middle and subject leaders learn how to coach they have the skills to facilitate clarity of purpose and direction. Their role is to translate the vision into clearly defined goals and priorities that will inspire high quality curriculum outcomes, outstanding pedagogy and well-motivated and reflective learners.  Coaching for impact in education requires those with this pivotal role to share the ambition for high quality outcomes with their teams and create a culture where individuals work together to achieve their own SMART objectives.

Creating a culture of collaboration and reflection

A coach will instil trust and confidence, provide the space and work closely through structured professional learning conversations to create for their teams the opportunity to demonstrate their own ability to make changes, take risks and find their own solutions that will ultimately build for them self-belief where they grow in their role and continue to achieve and exceed their potential. We have inspirational and highly praised coaching training to lead your teams towards exceptional outcomes in curriculum, teaching, learning and well-being.

How does Coaching Impact on Learning and Teaching?

Coaching is without doubt an outstanding pedagogy in itself. When teachers learn the skills related to coaching such as deep, incisive and rich questioning techniques, exceptional listening skills and the ability to inspire others to find their own solutions, accept challenge and have a high degree of self-belief they see how learning to be a coach will help them to be better practitioners.

Inspirational coaching questions challenge learning

Teachers who can coach, naturally raise self-awareness within their learners. They help to build their self-reflection and their independence to solve problems, work collaboratively and accept mistakes as essential to learning.

A coaching culture in a school or college builds capacity where teachers work together within professional learning communities to share their practice and learn from each other. They feel empowered to take risks with their teaching, share ideas with others and talk about their strengths and what they need to do to continue to improve and grow in their role. Build the coaching skills of all your teachers with our award winning course, Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning and train your NQT mentors to learn how coaching can inspire new teachers to be exceptional. Coaching the Newly Qualified Teacher: going beyond mentoring.

Involve learners in the process of coaching and see them grow and develop as independent and responsible members of their school, college or wider community.

What are the benefits of coaching for your school or college?

Find out more from Learning Cultures and make sure you have the culture that will deliver a truly 21st century future for all learners and staff. We are members of the Association for Coaching and we offer a Certification Programme that they endorse.

 

 

Systems redesign – Innovative futures for learning

Introduction

What are your priorities for creating positive futures for learning that will limit any damage caused by the events of the past year?  I am sure that there are so many it is difficult to decide where to start to ensure future planning creates the right culture for success.  Following ‘a deep dive’ into the current research and commentary from many sources I outline here some of the challenges that may require systems redesign where current systems and protocols may require significant change to deliver innovative futures for learning. The key is to choose the right focus for your situation, define the vision and ambition and know what success will look like.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

Creating a Coalition of Team Leaders

Creating a coalition of senior leaders
Where teams work together excellence happens

The role of the leader is to inspire all staff to achieve the defined vision linked to curriculum intent, to know and be able to communicate that vision and create an inspirational canvas that shines a light on what success will look like. In order to define the priorities for innovative futures for learning the leader needs to have a carefully chosen and trusted coalition, a senior team of talented individuals to take forward any decisions made. They must work together to empower others to be instrumental in making change happen. Transformation comes when individuals work together successfully to deliver mutually agreed goals that focus on positive change, exciting innovation, and who will foster powerful learning conversations.

Re-defining the Curriculum Content

We can’t capture what has been lost, if we try, we will alienate the learner and the teacher. We must move forward from here looking at what has been achieved and build on prior learning from the last year to stimulate and invigorate a belief that where learning goes next will fill any gaps and create for the learner a curiosity to build their own breadth of understanding, sharpen their skills and encourage deeper enquiry.

Creating a tapestry of learning
Weaving skills, knowledge and expertise together

The curriculum is a tapestry that weaves the core skills, the wider metacognitive skills, knowledge and concepts that transcend subject divides to provide the rich and complex threads for deep and profound learning. Finding a way to build a sequential and seamless curriculum from primary school, into secondary school and beyond should be the focus of all those who want to foster successful learning. Systems redesign here is challenging and requires a paradigm shift in current approaches to curriculum implementation which involves collaboration and a shared vision across all year groups and partner schools across the transition divide.

Pedagogy as a Key Driver for Success

Pedagogy as a key driver for success
Build a culture of outstanding teaching and learning

There is no substitute for outstanding pedagogy. The art and science of teaching is at the heart of what inspires learning. Expert subject knowledge, a deep understanding of how learners learn and an ability to create for the learner a deep desire to want to find out more, deepen their knowledge and build unconscious competence in their use of a range of skills describes the exceptional teacher.

Creating a CPD strategy as part of systems redesign should focus on the sharing and cascading of good practice. Planning professional development must create opportunities for teachers to reflect on their own successes and allow teachers to take risks, be innovative and look beyond the subject divide. Teaching in the 21st century and especially now as new approaches and new skills have changed the dynamics all of this must be close to the top of the priority list for innovative futures for learning.

Capture Learning at Points of Transition

Systems redesign for transition is likely to be a strategy that will provide evidence of impact more quickly than any other. There is a profound and well-researched dip in performance of anything up to 40% from the end of a transition period to the end of the following year, this is most profound when pupils move from primary to secondary school.

Creating partnerships that deliver seamless learning

Why? There are so many reasons all easily dealt with when there is a commitment to a shared partnership across the transition bridge whether this is key stage 1 to 2, 2 to 3 or when learners move from key stage 3 to 4 or from year 11 into a post 16 environment.  High levels of communication, a shared vision for a sequential and seamless curriculum, a focus on the needs of the learner, an understanding of what has been taught, what has been learnt and what skills are integral to the learning phase all play their part in negating any dip in learning.

Creating a Coaching Culture for Learning

Creating a Coaching Culture for Learning
Reach for excellence through coaching

Coaching creates a culture where the focus on specific systems redesign will make the most difference. Coaching empowers, defines the right channels for effective communication and allows individuals to find their own solutions. Now is the time to plan a strategy that will deliver your vision for the future of learning in your school, college MAT or Trust. Embracing coaching as the conduit for change to take place is elevating, motivating and uplifting.

We take the principles of coaching and use deeply respected research to create a pathway for all staff to work together, celebrate their strengths, learn from each other and cascade their successes widely thus building a culture of positivity and a willingness to embrace change. CPD is an essential element of professional life for all those who educate.  Using coaching as a key driver for ensuring all are working together to achieve a common goal will reap a harvest of outstanding learning and teaching. Reach for the future, don’t dwell on the past.

Building on Confidence in Technology

Building on confidence in technology
Creating a blended learning future

Who hasn’t learnt new skills over the past twelve months? Who hasn’t found out more about themselves and what they really want? We have all had to embrace technology and we have all had to learn differently as a result. This is true for all learners across the age spectrum, for teachers, leaders and maybe most of all for parents.

Leaving out the power of the learning through technology as part of your systems redesign would be a travesty. The future of learning must embrace the way technology has been an integral part of how the curriculum has been delivered and how learners have captured their understanding, revealed gaps in their learning and demonstrated competence in a range of new skills. We have updated our original Blended Learning course and it is now called Planning for a Learning Future: Better than before. Creating a blended learning future creates exciting opportunities for deeper, richer learning experiences across the age and the ability spectrum.

Capturing the Learner Voice

The learner, wherever they are along their journey in education has had a lot to deal with, not least a media intrusion that constantly suggests that they ‘will be the lost ‘generation’ and they have experienced ‘a catastrophic loss of learning’. On the contrary they have a great deal to celebrate and be proud of. Part of planning for systems redesign where leaders work out how to innovate for future learning must be to involve the learner in the process.

Capturing the Learner Voice
Creating the Expert Learner

It is by talking to learners, finding out how they feel, what they need to offset any loss of learning and highlighting the many skills they have gained that we will help them to move forward towards successful outcomes and positive futures.

Learners have had to work independently, be autonomous in how they have managed their time and planned their learning. The genie is out of the bottle, we need to build from here and not impose structures that existed before that will no longer feel right for learning. The possibilities are endless for ensuring that learners can take more control for their own learning and build new futures. Have a look at our 15 top tips for ensuring learners can make the transition from home schools learning to learning in the classroom.

Read this article written by our Director Glynis Frater about the importance of staff and learner voice in taking account of curriculum choices . Written some time ago but the themes resonate now more than ever.

Assessment and Curriculum Futures

Assessment must be a key driver when designing and implementing a curriculum that will ensure all learners achieve their full potential.  Planning backwards may be key to this. What is the curriculum designed to achieve? How will the learning be assessed? What will be assessed, skills, knowledge, flair, deeper thinking? Where departments and teams are working together to define a common purpose for how learning is to be assessed there is a synergy and a collective approach to designing curriculum strategies that will challenge, nurture talent, ensure parity and foster a culture of curiosity that leads to independence and deeper thinking.

This year assessment in both primary and secondary schools has been turned upside down. Teachers have the responsibility for making sure that they can find enough time to teach the content, create an environment where learners can feel confident that they are learning and have sufficient evidence that the knowledge they are acquiring will be enough across the specific range of subjects they are studying. Read the current guidance from OFQUAL.

Assesment and Curriculum Futures
Creating ladders that lead to progression

This is a paradigm shift for many teachers and is an interesting ideological diversion for many political thinkers. The cushion of the exam or test takes the responsibility for assessment out of the hands of the teacher and the centre they belong to. In this brave new world, it is essential that all teachers have the right evidence to submit. They must have a deep understanding of the pedagogy of assessment for learning through the use of deep and rich questioning where challenging feedback is essential in the pursuit of accuracy, transparency and fairness. They must also feel convinced that they can make their own professional judgements across a range of evidence sources.

We have added to our courses Formative Assessment in the Primary School and Formative Assessment in the Secondary School to provide those teachers who are not familiar with teacher assessment in this way to learn some of the tools and techniques that will help them to be accurate and confident in their own adjudications so that they can be assured that they are doing the best for their pupils.

Strategic and Innovative CPD Solutions

Innovative futures for learning will lie in a focus on systems redesign and the associated CPD that will be essential. All staff need to feel they are an integral part of the learning journey that will ultimately lead to successful outcomes where minimum learning is lost and teachers and learners alike feel confident and empowered to look forward and not backward.

Strategic and innovative CPD solutions
Systems redesign – Innovative futures for learning

Have a look at Learning Cultures latest online brochure for all our latest courses and programmes for school and college leaders, subject and middle leaders, teachers and support staff. Visit our website for all the latest information about our services, courses and superb asynchronous packages. Let us help you to create a coaching culture that will ensure all staff work together, share their successes and build a truly collaborative and outstanding future. Work with our curriculum experts to redraw your curriculum vision, share the rationale and ambition and build the highest quality learning journey for every learner. Know what success will look like and have evidence at your fingertips that your systems redesign will impact on the life chances of everyone in your school or college.

 

 

Mind the Gap – Step up not catch up

The phrase of the moment seems to be ‘catch up’. It sounds simple until you unpick the complex layers of learning that are the essential life blood of educating a child. What are schools and other education settings catching up on? Some pupils have continued to learn, some have developed profound and useful life skills as part of organising their own learning and some undoubtedly will have missed the point, lost sight of the facts or misunderstood the task.

Now is the time to throw away the paradigm of constant ‘catch up’ for those who are left behind. It is, as ever, those who are disadvantaged, have less parental or other support and who generally believe themselves to be failures that will be highlighted as those that need to ‘catch up’.

Instead of ‘catch up’ I would like to offer a solutions focused way forward. There is funding, there is a summer ahead of us and there are opportunities to take a strategic leap into thinking differently about next steps in learning. We cannot look backwards and capture what is lost. We can, however, use the next few months to focus on learning, the how of learning and not the what of learning and create a readiness for learning that we can build on for years to come. If we tediously try to shoehorn in the so-called lost knowledge we are very likely to lose the already disillusioned and deflate those who have succeeded during the last year. It is not their fault. ‘Catch up’ sounds like we are punishing the learner and their teachers.

Instead, let us have a think about some of the obvious issues we have time now to rethink so that we create a future that is most definitely better than before.  Below are a few of the glaring areas that have needed mending for a long time. How about a fresh look at new approaches and a bit of strategic thinking?

  1. Transition from primary to secondary school – there is a well-researched average dip in attainment of up to 40% from the end of year 6 to the end of year 7. There isn’t much data yet about the consequences for ‘lost learning’ over the past year but I doubt it will be any higher than this. Turning that dip into an upwards curve is an essential element of our highly rated course ‘Crossing the Transition Bridge’ – Seamless learning from primary to secondary school’. We have gathered some great ideas and powerful solutions. A less dramatic but still worrying dip occurs between key stage 1 and 2, we have the answers here too, Creating a transition strategy that builds a continuum of learning from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 and beyond
  2. Creating a tapestry curriculum – where pupils can make connections across their learning they remember, deepen their understanding and begin to develop higher order thinking skills. Learners need to see the explicit connection between the skills they are learning in English and Maths and how they are applied in every facet of the curriculum and beyond. Have a look at our two courses that create for those with responsibility for embedding these skills with a wealth of innovative and well-researched strategies that work. Enhancing the Role of the Literacy Coordinator – planning a strategy to ensure literacy is woven through the curriculum and Enhancing the Role of the Numeracy Coordinator – looking at where Maths is integral to learning across the curriculum
  3. Metacognition is about learning how to learn and how to think deeply about learning. Where these skills are added to the tapestry a picture emerges that the learner can understand and the learning is strengthened. This requires planning and the opportunities for professional conversations about learning in subject specific contexts and in cross curricular forums. We have just redesigned our two outstanding curriculum courses, Curriculum Futures for the Primary School- Defining the vision and delivering impact and Curriculum Futures for the Secondary School- Defining the vision and delivering impact they both provide outstanding resources, activities and presentations all built on our commitment to research led CPD.
  4. Formative assessment as an essential pedagogy for learning – There is such an imperative to ensure that all teachers have the skills to challenge positively, feedback constructively and allow the learner to understand what he or she can do to make progress, deepen their understanding and learn more. There may be gaps to fill or extra work to do to raise morale or concentrate on relearning some skills; where the teacher or teaching assistant can encourage, promote self-esteem and ignite a passion those gaps will soon become strengths. Spending time now ensuring all staff have the questioning, influencing and listening skills to empower learning and foster progression will reap huge rewards. We have superb off the shelf asynchronous training opportunities for schools to use with their staff. The future is formative and not summative, certainly for now, Formative Assessment – Creating the pedagogy of challenge, progression and deeper learning in the primary school and Formative Assessment – Creating the pedagogy of challenge, progression and deeper learning in the secondary school
  5.  Creating professional learning communities to share, collaborate and innovate – The expertise in a school is amazing but how often do we have the time or the structure to share that professionalism and knowledge more widely? Planning a strategy that ensures positive futures for every learner, every leader, every teacher and every school is essential. We know at Learning Cultures that the most successful way forward is to create a coaching culture that promotes high quality learning conversations and creates opportunities for the sharing and cascading of best practice, learner successes and teacher innovation. Where professional conversations lead the way, change happens. Start your coaching journey with the professionals at Learning Cultures. 

 

 

Curriculum Futures – Building a learning culture for now and for tomorrow

There is an imperative to make sure every learner who returns to school or college this week knows that they bring with them a whole host of positives from their experience of home schooling, a loss of freedoms and lost opportunities to be a part of their community and the wider world.  No one can capture lost learning or bring back missed experience, so the best way forward is to celebrate what has been learnt and give huge credit for all our pupils’ resilience, stoicism and optimism.

Everyone from the learner to the teacher, to the leader and to the parent can reflect on what has gone before and be duly proud that we are turning a corner but also that learning has taken place. Our pupils have managed their own space, their own time, learnt how to use new technology, listen more attentively and be less dependant on the teacher. Have a look at our ‘Top tips for ensuring learners can make the transition from home schooling to the classroom’, collected together from several influential pieces of research.  Evidence is powerful that learning will continue and where there is catching up to do the essential ingredients are fostering self-esteem and self-belief.

Learning Cultures weaves a coaching philosophy into the design of all our training courses and programmes. One of the most important messages to instil in any individual who wants to be a part of building a coaching strategy is to always look for the positive, never dwell on the past and believe sincerely that there is no such thing as failure just time to learn and grow every day. If this is your starting point you will see a way forward that will be inspirational and create for all those who are part of school life a belief that the rest of this academic year and the next is an opportunity to innovate and be creative in how to build on prior achievement and develop expert learners whatever their starting point.

Our team have revelled in the opportunity to learn new skills. Our live webinars have proved to be overwhelmingly popular and the feedback has been outstanding.  It is a new medium for CPD and we are unlikely to see it disappear from our training repertoire. We have also created a suite of asynchronous courses that allow schools and colleges to use the five sections in each course either to conduct their own INSET or to deliver training over several sessions. They are flexible and have an unprecedented amount of materials, presentations and resources that can be used again and again. We have also created a suite of shorter ‘In a Nutshell’ courses for individuals and teams to use when they are looking for bite-size CPD opportunities.

We have hosted online whole organisation INSET and have designed bespoke courses for leaders, managers, teams and others within a school or college.  The future is most definitely blended, it is doubtful we will return to the expensive and time consuming off-site courses that involve travel, cover and sometimes an overnight stay for all our CPD needs. There is potential for a lot more learning and a lot more interaction with an online platform that still delivers high quality training and deeply pertinent messages for the new world we have watched emerge over the past year or so.

We have created a wealth of relevant and interactive training titles, here are a few that are a must go to as we emerge from a year like no other. Here at Learning Cultures, we are delighted to share our expertise, deep research and innovation to bring answers to your questions and solutions to your problems. For CPD there is no better start, here are a few of the titles we think will be essential over the next few weeks.

There is loads more. Have a look at our website and start your journey towards a positive future.

The Art of Positive Lesson Observation – creating a culture where lesson observation is a collaborative part of continual professional learning

Listen to this newspost as a Podcast.

In this news post I want to focus on the outstanding opportunities that exist in ensuring lesson observation is a key part of professional learning and development for all those with a pupil facing role. Where individuals see lesson observation as an important part of their own professional development it is transformational. The key however is to make it a two-way process. It should not be an imposition where senior and middle leaders decide who should be observed and when.

Our course “The Art of Positive Lesson Observation – creating a culture where lesson observation is a collaborative part of continuing professional learning” focuses on how using coaching techniques can have a significant impact on how the observer feeds back to the observed and those being observed accept and use the feedback as part of their own learning and continued development as a good or outstanding teacher.

Where lesson observation is a part of performance management it becomes an imposition and is often an unwelcome intrusion into the teacher’s classroom. Where a coaching culture emerges, the teacher is an integral part of the observation process, welcomes the opportunity to reflect and can accept the positive and constructive feedback that is shared.

The best way forward is to make it explicit that lesson observation is part of professional learning for all those concerned. Every member of the teaching staff needs to be involved, all should have the opportunity to observe others and engage in professional learning conversations about the quality of the lesson, what worked well and what the teacher might do differently next time.

To create a less judgemental approach to lesson observation it is important that all teaching staff understand and can talk about the teaching strategies that underpins their classroom practice. In this course we give the participants an opportunity to explore pedagogy and what constitutes independent, active and participative learning that ensures all learners are fully involved in their learning. Giving teachers an opportunity to talk about teaching and learning as part of lesson observation gives them the opportunity to celebrate what they do well, share what achieves impact and take away the ideas and best practice from other practitioners.

There is an imperative to give teachers and their line managers an opportunity to share their experiences of the past few months. Observing lessons has taken place but in very different ways. Now is the time as we welcome learners back to the classroom to use CPD time to consider new ways that might emerge where teachers develop different and more blended learning strategies. Creating a coaching culture where teachers can experiment, take risks and build a repertoire of new pedagogies will enrich the learning for both the teacher and their pupils.

The message we are conveying as part of this training course is that there should be a high degree of trust between the observed and the observer. In a coaching culture the observer is not there to judge but to feedback in a positive way that creates for the teacher an opportunity to learn and grow in their role.

The course provides those who take part with opportunities throughout to practice coaching skills and deepen their understanding of how to feedback positively to encourage reflection and foster a motivation to want to make changes and to learn.

Where coaching is an integral part of the process of observing learning there is a willingness for individuals to share, grow and innovate.  Where coaching is embedded as part of the feedback process the school or college culture changes and everyone is a part of the desire for continuous improvement and the quest for high quality learning for all.

This course The Art of Lesson Observation”   is one of our asynchronous Moodle packages that those with responsibility for lesson observation, professional development and performance management can use to suit their CPD timetable or planning time. It is divided into five sections that are designed to cover a full INSET day. They can be broken down and delivered over time and revisited as often as is needed. The whole course sits on a Moodle platform where all the resources are easily accessed. There is even a multiple-choice quiz, bibliography and extra resources at the end of each section.  It also comes in a box with a memory stick that houses all the resources, sets of cards, a user manual and because we can’t offer you lunch, a box of chocolates. We can also run this course for leaders and managers from an organisation either remotely or face to face when allowed.

Listen to this newspost as a Podcast.

Re-thinking Appraisal – creating the right culture for continuing professional development to flourish

Read this newspost as a podcast.

This newsletter profiles our training course Re-thinking Appraisal and Performance Management- Creating a coaching culture that leads to influential change through positive learning conversations  It looks at the process of appraisal and the undoubted advantages of using coaching as a means of ensuring the vision, the school improvement plan and the road map that defines the way forward from here can be all be realised.

We must not forget the implications for staff development as well as for pupils’ progress and achievement as the academic year rolls on and we begin to look to future plans for learning and development. We are certainly aware here at Learning Cultures that training and CPD has not been high on the agenda for school leaders and line managers during the last year, which is understandable in the circumstances.

There will be an imperative to include continuing professional development for all staff in any strategic planning that takes place over the coming months. There is much talk about what learners have lost but this can be just as telling for those who teach, manage learning or design the curriculum. In all of the professions CPD is a vital component of maintaining standards and high-quality outcomes and education is no exception.

Achieving carefully crafted goals and objectives may not have been possible for all those at the frontline of trying to educate and keep a school safe and running smoothly. Therefore, appraisals may need careful thought as we move towards the new academic year and begin to look at the whole school or college vision and organisation, team and individual improvement plans.

We have a coaching solution to the need to rethink appraisal. We can support all those who need to reflect on how future plans will redress the impact of the last year and refocus how an appraisal process will help to reset the compass in order to steer learning towards positive futures.

The answer is to make sure that all staff are involved in the process and all have a say as to their own goals and aspirations for the future.  It is essential that leaders in education encourage their staff to reflect on what they have learnt over the past year. It has been tough and for many exhausting and overwhelming, but we have all had to adapt and change our ways of working and we have all gained new skills in the process.

Going backwards is unlikely to be the way forward. We cannot capture what has been lost but we can build self-esteem and celebrate the achievements bound up in survival, change and positive action that has been taken to minimise disruption that has been the default for many. This is where coaching comes in.  Making sure line managers create the right culture that ensures appraisals are a two – way process with the individuals they manage is essential. This must acknowledge the individual’s strengths and skills and give them the opportunity to share their own solutions to achieving positive outcomes and measurable impact for all learners and all staff.

Coaching is about setting goals and focusing on how these can be achieved smartly. Creating an appraisal process that focuses on accountability for each individual to be responsible for achieving what they say they want to achieve is far more motivating than when goals and objectives are imposed by others. Each individual needs to know the part he or she plays in achieving the school or college vision. Their focus is then on what positive actions can be taken to achieve success, measure impact and focus on priorities for change and improvement.

Our training course Re-thinking Appraisal and Performance Management- Creating a coaching culture that leads to influential change through positive learning conversations will give those with responsibility for managing appraisal with a wealth of materials, resources and activities to re-think the process. We also contain within the course the opportunity for those attending to learn some coaching skills that will help them to support their teams to define their goals and objectives, know and articulate their strengths and learning agenda, conduct appraisal interviews and create opportunities for ongoing professional learning conversations to take place during the interval between formal appraisals.

This course is an asynchronous package that those with responsibility for planning and conducting appraisal can use to suit their CPD timetable or planning time. It is divided into five sections that are designed to cover a full INSET day. They can be broken down and delivered over time and revisited as often as is needed. The whole course sits on a Moodle platform where all the resources are easily accessed. There is even a multiple choice quiz, bibliography and extra resources at the end of each section.  It also comes in a box with a memory stick that houses all the resources, sets of cards, a user manual and because we can’t offer you lunch, a box of chocolates. We can also run this course for leaders and managers from an organisation either remotely or face to face when allowed.

Read this newspost as a podcast.

 

 

Coaching: the key to outstanding teaching and learning

Listen to this newspost as a podcast

In this newspost I want to explore coaching as a powerful pedagogy. Where teachers learn to coach, they quickly see the parallels with the strategies they use to deliver exceptional teaching and learning. We have a highly regarded course for all teachers it is called ‘Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning’.

Picture walking into a classroom where all the pupils are engaged, focused and absorbed in what they are doing. The teacher is there to facilitate the learning, not necessarily simply to deliver the content. There is a buzz of learning and a confidence for all that taking a risk or making a mistake is absolutely fine as long as it leads to some kind of deeper understanding. The teacher’s role is to encourage, challenge and foster a love of learning that will remain forever.

The teacher uses the classroom to foster independent learning, group interaction and the blending of skills and knowledge. He or she creates opportunities for learners to make sense of their growing understanding and what they need to do next to progress.  There is a trust that is implicit in the relationship between the teacher and his or her class. The quality of learning is dependent on that teacher’s inspiration and expertise and the learner has the confidence to use the resources, rise to the challenges of the tasks being presented and is motivated towards achieving above and beyond their potential.

Where teachers develop a range of coaching skills and learn how to use them as part of their teaching repertoire, they are more adept at creating a classroom culture that puts the onus on learning rather than teaching and creates for the pupils a tacit understanding that they are responsible for their own learning and are accountable for what they achieve.

The skills teachers will develop as part of learning how to coach are the ability to use deep and rich questioning to put the onus on the learner to find their own solutions, be ready to take risks with their learning and accept challenge as part of their experience in the classroom.  The second skill is learning how to become an active listener. Listening raises awareness of what others think. It allows the listener to build a picture of how much a learner understands, their attitudes to learning and the barriers that might hinder learning.

It is also important that teachers have the opportunity to reflect on their pedagogy and how the way they teach impacts on learning, enjoyment, progression and achievement. Here at Learning Cultures for this course we have created a set of pedagogy cards that give teachers an opportunity to talk about their teaching approaches and what works well for them. We ask them to share their best practice examples and we encourage those who are listening to use the incisive questioning techniques they have been learning about to find out more, to challenge perceptions and to define how the approach leads to learning.

We also challenge teachers to focus on their strengths, how can they articulate what they are good at and how they influence others to achieve their full potential.  There is often a reluctance for us all to talk about ourselves and certainly to say what we are doing well. To be a good coach it is essential to know yourself, how you influence others and what it is about you that others will trust with their dreams and aspirations. We use this as a powerful opportunity to focus on how to plan a learning agenda linked to strengths and gaps in skills and knowledge that will help all to move towards an ideal professional future.

The essential final element in learning how to coach is to have the opportunity to practice coaching with others over time. This is profoundly linked to having very clearly defined goals for how this future will be achieved. Articulating one’s goal and then determining the road map for how it will be achieved is a crucial first step.  It is also important to recognise what currently works well but also to know the barriers that might impede success.

Where individuals can set out their own goals and how they will achieve them and then share this with others there are opportunities for coaching conversations to take place that have a twofold impact. Firstly, the goal setter consolidates their understanding of what they want to achieve and secondly, the listener is able to practice their questioning, influencing and listening skills.

Coaching and teaching have a synergy that cannot be easily ignored by anyone who has spent time learning how to coach.  We will all need new approaches and positive answers to welcome back learners who have been away from school. Coaching provides so many answers to ensuring both teachers and pupils have the confidence, self-esteem and self-belief to move forward from here and continue to make exceptional progress. Follow the link to the course discussed below.

Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning

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Coaching – an essential skill for all those with a pastoral role

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Coaching and the pastoral process has a symbiosis that should not be ignored. Coaching is about allowing individuals to find solutions, reflect on their own behaviours and have resilience when faced with difficulties. Delivering the pastoral system requires a range of skills that will nurture learners and allow them to grow and progress throughout their education.

Learning how to coach is a gift that creates a culture where individuals know their limits and are challenged to take responsibility. It is the opposite to telling individuals what is best for them, instead it is a collaborative process that leads to independence of spirit and fosters high levels or self-belief.

Stepping into the harsh reality of returning to education in the classroom will be a difficult process for many. The routines, the spaces and the management of learning is different in the home environment. Even for those who have remained in school things will change as class sizes grow.  There will be a wide range of different experiences that learners have faced and their ability to cope will vary as a result of many different factors. It will be for the pastoral team to work together in synergy to ensure all learners thrive, return to learning in the classroom as easily as possible and begin to find their equilibrium.

Learning how to coach will enhance the skills of pastoral leaders and tutors. They will become more intuitive, challenge limiting beliefs, use deep questioning to raise self-esteem and probe for clarity and understanding. Coaching is non-judgemental; a coach is a critical friend who will not disapprove, disagree or impose. A coach is there to listen deeply, to offer clarity and to give reassurance for anyone struggling with their own confusing reality.

In this course we look at how pastoral leaders can create highly effective teams that will support both their learners and their colleagues. We show how the development of a coaching culture will bring strength to the team and provide the model for ensuring there is a professional dialogue that fosters the celebration of good practice and where all those involved can learn from each other and collaborate successfully.  We create the opportunity for those attending to learn and practice some coaching skills including deep and rich questioning, active listening and influencing skills. We want the picture to unfold to reveal just how powerful coaching can be in the desire to develop within all learners, resilience, strength of character, a belief in fairness and a range of independent learning skills that will prepare them for a positive future.

This course is part of our suite of coaching courses. It can stand alone, or it can be part of a planned CPD strategy where all staff have the opportunity to learn how coaching can support them in their role. Making sure pastoral staff learn and practice a range of coaching skills and can see how coaching will enhance their role is a profound step in supporting all learners. The next few months will be an important journey where the pastoral team and the learners in their charge can cope with the realities of returning to the classroom, recognising there has been a cohesive learning journey over the past year and making strides towards discovering they have the confidence to move forward positively.

As with all the courses designed by the Learning Cultures coaching team the materials, resources, activities and presentations are all created so that those who participate in the training can take their learning back to their colleagues and cascade it. It is our sincere belief that any form of training must be sustainable and cost effective and by providing opportunities for others to share in the content of the training is essential. The delegate has the opportunity to pass on their knowledge to others but will also consolidate their learning through the process of discussing their learning with others.

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Leading from the Middle: Influence change, build outstanding teams and foster innovation

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This post focuses on our course Coaching for Middle Leaders. It is the fourth in the Learning Cultures series looking at how developing a coaching culture will provide the framework, the skills and the strategy to plan how to move forward to ensure continued high quality outcomes for all staff and learners.

Here, we look specifically at the role of the middle leader and how coaching will enhance their ability to enable their teams to deliver the plan for consolidation, change and improvement.

Leading from the Middle is a powerful coaching course for those with the pivotal role of middle leader. They work closely with the Headteacher or Principal and other senior leaders to interpret and contribute to the vision for continuous improvement and ensure curriculum cohesion and impact.

They lead their teams and translate the plans for success into workable goals and objectives that are realistic, measurable and achievable. The middle leader has to empower others to deliver specific quality outcomes to ensure there is a visible impact on learning and achievement.

All of this has to be managed within workable time-frames that fit into the academic year and that’s in a normal year. The middle leader now has an even more pivotal role. They must look forward to plan how to build on what has been learnt. They must reflect on how to recover lost learning for both teachers and their pupils. They will also have the responsibility for creating positive futures linked to self – esteem, motivation and confidence.

This course examines the role of coaching in middle leadership and how through the development of a range of coaching skills middle leaders can foster highly visible professional learning communities that will model best practice, empower others to explore and innovate, foster a culture of trust and inspire new ideas in pedagogy and learning.

We look at the skills of listening, influencing and the powerful use of questioning. We focus on the difference between mentoring and coaching and how to use both effectively. We ask middle leaders to look within themselves to define their own strengths and gaps in learning and how they can foster a culture where their teams work together to cohesively deliver high quality outcomes that make a difference.

We then focus on how developing and using these skills creates a culture where teams are more cohesive, they feel enabled and motivated to find their own solutions and are inspired to be a part of a collective vision that delivers outstanding learning, excellence in teaching and a commitment to consistent high quality outcomes.

Coaching is the most powerful way to manage change where all teams, curriculum, teaching and learning, subject, pastoral, support and administration are all a part of the collective vision that will help the organisation, school, college, academy or university to find the positive and build on successes rather than dwelling on lost learning. Positivity breeds self-esteem, is motivational and is the only way to plan for the next steps in minimising the impact of what has gone before.

This course is part of our suite of coaching courses. It will give middle leaders a wealth of materials and resources to use with their teams. It is the starting point for middle leaders to learn a range of coaching techniques and it gives all those who attend with the framework for taking coaching forward as part of the vision for a successful future.

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Leading a Coaching School or College: Coaching is the key to exceptional leadership

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Bringing staff and pupils back into school will bring its challenges and require exceptional leadership skills. Learning CulturesLeading a Coaching School or College live webinar is the place to start for senior leaders to focus on how they can create a collaborative culture that delivers outstanding learning, powerful pedagogy and a shared commitment to the highest quality education for all.

Making coaching an essential part of the strategy for the future is the best decision a school or college leader will make.  Coaching equips the leader with the skills to empower others, to influence change and to unlock potential.  The coaching leader will create a culture of reflection where he or she engenders trust and a belief that everyone can achieve what is crafted in the vision, rationale or ambition for all staff and learners.   Where a leader believes that everyone has the capacity to continuously improve there is a motivation to uphold high standards of performance and for each member of staff to accept challenge and find their own solutions to issues and problems that arise.

To build new futures, leaders will need to re-evaluate the ambition for continuous improvement, curriculum rationale and the best way to ensure that learners make the transition from home schooling to the classroom and continue to thrive. Focusing on using strategies linked to coaching will ensure that the imperative for change is the collective responsibility of all staff. Incorporating learner voice into the mix can only strengthen the outcomes.

For this to happen, the senior leadership team need to make the commitment to build a coaching culture and allow others to share in the responsibility to make sure that all staff and pupils can recapture their enthusiasm and motivation to learn and enhance their self-esteem.  Where the process of change is driven by collaborative professional learning communities who share a common goal, the team can build on what they know works well, identify barriers that might need to be overcome and carefully refine the options they can choose to ensure success.

Essentially, coaching leadership must be highly visible so that there is a constancy of purpose that is built on a culture of trust and respect. Opportunities to foster collaboration must be inherent in all aspects of team and individual planning. There needs to be a commitment to ensuring the highest quality implementation leads to desirable and positive impact.  Coaching must be about learning through a process of continuous improvement where there is a willingness to share success, where individuals know their strengths and their gaps in professional learning and where they accept failure as part of the process and reflect on how mistakes lead to learning.

Leading a Coaching School is a training course that will provide senior leadership teams with the skills they need to begin their journey towards creating a coaching culture. However, this course goes much further than that, challenging those in attendance to focus on how they can implement a strategy that leads to transformational change.  We challenge senior leaders to focus on their sense of urgency and how this drives the vision for excellence and continuous improvement. We ask that leaders know how to delegate, how to empower and influence others to take increased responsibility for how they set and achieve their own goals and targets that flow from the whole organisation improvement plans.

We include a range of tools and techniques that provide those who attend with all they need to continue to learn how to coach and how to use coaching to create a culture where professional learning conversations provide the basis for a collaborative culture built on reflection, the celebration of good practice and the collective desire to deliver a constancy of purpose that insists on the highest quality of curriculum, pedagogy and learning.

Our team at Learning Cultures have all been leaders in education. We know how lonely it can be. The role of the senior leadership team is to be the Captain of the ship, to steer the vessel and the people within it to safe and secure futures.  Where everyone pulls together using coaching as the driver, the leader is reassured that all staff are working as one to weather storms, deal with difficult people, manage behaviour or address poor performance.  Delegation means that the leader or leaders return to being the strategists whilst middle, team or subject leaders deliver and anchor deep learning opportunities for teachers and pupils across the whole organisation.

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