Hello from China. I am here in Shanghai to deliver a suite of coaching training for a group of schools. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with some lovely people from an eclectic mix of countries and nationalities. They have all shown such a commitment to the concept of coaching and how it can be transformative as a pedagogy in the classroom, a dynamic and highly effective approach to CPD and a powerful skill for those who manage teams and lead their organisation towards positive change.
It was with some trepidation that I undertook this assignment, wondering as I travelled here how coaching would be viewed in a country such as China. My first thoughts were that the didactic approach to both school management and teaching and learning would prevail. What I have seen is exactly the opposite, a wealth of talent, a positive attitude to change management and a desire to create a learning culture across the schools.
Many of the issues facing the staff here are exactly the same as we have in England. The pressure for results that leads to a tendency to teach rather than to facilitate learning; a lack of time for genuine collaboration within subjects and across the curriculum and few opportunities for the sharing and celebration of good and outstanding practice in teaching and learning. The coaching principles that help to address such issues were seen as a positive way forward in the pursuance of consistent high quality education for all pupils and the development of a highly structured training strategy for staff.
I delivered three of our coaching programmes. Leading a Coaching School to the leadership team, Coaching from the Middle for Heads of School, Department leads and other team leaders and Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning for those teachers who wanted to lead on developing the coaching approach within the school.
The enthusiasm from the participants and the contributions they made to the activities and discussions we had were enjoyable and hugely informative. Those of you reading this who have benefited from our coaching training will know what I mean when I say that the experience of learning how to coach is highly motivating and brings a new dimension to how to approach defining pedagogy as part of a collaborative dialogue for continuing professional development and in the classroom to reinforce independence and creativity in learning.
I am looking forward to my return to England where the Learning Cultures’ coaching momentum continues to grow for schools across our country. I am also pleased by the growing number of schools internationally that are asking us to plan programmes, here in China and in Spain, India, UAE, Australia, Denmark and Czechoslovakia to name a few more. We are making a difference with our unique training offer. It is the start of a journey and once you realise how powerful coaching can be you will not turn back.
From Glynis, here in Shanghai.