CPD and coaching – how to lead the way in this time of crisis to creating the right blend of professional learning

Listening, questioning, sharing, collaborating, co-constructing, talking, reflecting, creating, empowering, influencing

A few of the words that describe the power of coaching as the most desirable way to build a CPD strategy for your school or college.  Back to school does not mean been back to normal and many leaders in education are facing challenges that are unprecedented. Finding the solutions to continuing to provide a high quality of education and ensure all staff have the knowledge, skills, energy and motivation to deliver it is essential for learning for pupils and personnel across the organisation. Coaching is that solution.

The Learning Cultures’ coaching team know from many years’ experience that the most cost effective, innovative and solutions-focused way forward is to set about using the principles of coaching as a starting point for planning CPD for the next year and beyond. For most this will mean using virtual platforms and online tools.

The Education Endowment Foundation have come to the same conclusion, their recent Rapid Evidence Assessment of the efficacy of remote professional development concludes,

Remote coaching, mentoring and expert support can be effective alone or as part of broader professional development programmes (PD)

  • Coaching and mentoring can improve skills and knowledge of professionals when delivered remotely and may reduce feelings of isolation in professionals
  • Remote or blended coaching, mentoring and expert support can be used to complement broader remote or blended PD programmes
  • Collaboration between colleagues may also improve PD outcomes through enabling reflective practice and collective problem-solving

The power of coaching transforms learning and teaching, builds dynamic teams and creates positive and incisive leaders. We have had a part to play in ensuring coaching is at the heart of CPD across many schools and colleges here in the UK and internationally.  We have now spent the last six months finalising our online programmes using an ex Channel 4 producer and an award-winning designer to work with us to ensure our highly-praised and well-researched content is also accessible, interesting and relevant.

We have been astounded by the outcomes from the live coaching webinars that we have delivered throughout the summer and the success of the Moodle courses that we have developed for schools and colleges to buy and use anytime within their CPD calendar. The quality and flexibility of this approach means a whole new world of CPD and coaching possibilities to suit all those who educate across all sectors.

 

Learning how to coach online – Powerful, proactive and personal

Cascading a coaching culture across a school or college creates opportunities for highly focused professional interaction that can empower individuals to accept change and allow them to take risks and find solutions. This has never been more important as we continue to try to find ways to teach and engage with learners both virtually and in very different classrooms.  Coaching brings together individuals who can share their successes, encourage reflection and foster resilience when the going gets tough.

Here at Learning Cultures that is certainly what we have had to do.  Offsite courses where people travel and spend time in groups in hotels and other conference spaces has not been on the agenda.  Survival for us has required innovation and a willingness to embrace change.  The answer has been surprisingly simple and has proved hugely successful. Coaching, we thought might prove tricky to deliver online. How wrong we were.

The Zoom coaching courses that we have run through May and June have been a huge success and provide an intimate and structured dimension to one to one and group interaction.  The impact of our training is just as powerful as it has always been and the opportunities for the development of more frequent coaching conversations with the trainer and with other participants means practising coaching skills is readily available, time friendly and outstandingly good value for all. We have broken down the full day we usually host into two sessions of two and a half hours each with a week in between for practice and reflection. It works so well, it is less tiring, more rewarding and more intense in terms of depth of learning.

There is still a place for face to face coaching interaction and learning but it isn’t happening any time soon and coaching is urgently needed as a means of empowering and motivating staff and learners to continue to be a part of a learning culture. The current coaching courses we have available online through July and August are:-

Have a look on our website at all the other courses we are offering through our Zoom platform. All our Zoom courses are for individuals to work through and currently cost £150.00 + VAT inclusive of both sessions which is a price that is too good to miss out on.

We also have a suite of courses that are now available on a Moodle platform for schools to buy as CPD packages that can be delivered as a whole school INSET, a series of training sessions or twilight sessions across an academic year. Discounted by 30% to £695.00 + VAT they are exceptional value.

 

Accessing Education CPD through a Virtual Learning Platform

Online CPD for educators is undoubtedly the way forward.  Certainly, in the short term.  Here at Learning Cultures we are working hard to bring you our highly acclaimed training courses to a virtual platform.

We have six courses ready to go.  We are discounting the cost of these by 30% to £695.00 + VAT from £995.00 + VAT per school. We intend to continue this offer until such time as we can provide offsite and INSET training again. You will have access to the course and login details for up to 10 members of staff.

Each course you buy will allow up to ten members of staff to access the array of materials, presentations and activities as many times as they want for up to twelve months. Each will have their own log in details and can then use the training for their own use and to share with their teams. Each of our courses has an element of coaching within it. Coaching is by far the best way to ensure that the learning is cascaded and shared widely.

We are watching carefully the unfolding picture as to how we move forward from here towards a more normal way of life.  It is clear that group activities in large hotels and conference centres are unlikely to happen in the very near future.

However, training your staff is still an essential element of school life and all staff must have opportunities to learn new skills, reflect on their practice and work together through professional conversations and motivational dialogue.  Those who have attended our training courses in the past will know that all our training is outstanding, and full of new and highly researched evidence-based learning materials.  Our online platform will offer the same and more.

Have a look here for more details and order your virtual CPD so that all your staff can continue to develop professionally using the acclaimed resources and presentations for which we are justifiably proud.

Online courses from Learning Cultures -Virtually speaking with feeling, style and presence

Virtually speaking with feeling, style and presence

Learning how to coach has given every single member of the Learning Cultures’ team the positivity and creativity to find solutions to this unique situation we all find ourselves in.  We can’t, and probably won’t be able to for some time to come, travel and gather in hotels and other venues for training, meetings, or coaching sessions.  So what we have decided to do is to bring our considerable expertise and wealth of highly praised materials and resources to an online platform.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is essential to all those in the education profession.  We advocate that the sharing of good and outstanding practice as part of a process of continuous improvement should be an important aspect of school life. Even that most simple and cost-effective way of learning from each other is not happening for many professionals who are now working from home for much of the time. We have six courses available as part of the first of our CPD on-line sequence which include something for leaders and middle managers, for subject leaders and for teachers.

These courses are broken down into five sections and will mirror our approach to in-house and off-site courses.  They have been designed, recorded and produced by an ex Channel 4 film maker and a producer who has a wealth of technical and creative experience designing high profile on-line courses for some of our largest companies. For all of those who have attended our training courses we offer the same wealth of expert content that is built on high profile and current research.

The first six of our courses listed above are delivered by Glynis Frater who is an expert coach with a wealth of experience of training leaders, managers and teachers for over 15 years. These courses have been carefully reviewed and we are so pleased with the extremely positive evaluations we have received.

“Outstanding, so much material that is easy to follow and extremely informative.  There is enough in one course to use for several online opportunities for all our staff.”

Headteacher from a Hospital School in the South West

You will have training courses that you can use to deliver a whole school INSET or for specific teams within your school or college. If you buy one course up to 10 individuals will have log in details so several members of a team can work together to plan how to use the materials, share their learning and use the resources to support their own professional development and provide opportunities for professional dialogue across the whole school, within teams and departments and for individual members of staff.

We have chosen the above six titles as a starting point. There is something for leaders and managers, (Appraisal and Lesson Observation) for subject and team leaders (the role of the subject leader) and something for all teaching staff (Formative Assessment and The Learning Room).  The current price of £695.00 + VAT is discounted by 30% for the duration of this quarantine period.  Book now and ensure that all your staff continue to have the highly professional CPD that they deserve.

 

The answers you hope for depend on the questions you ask

What are the questions that achieve the best outcomes from your learners? Do you have at your fingertips questions that will inspire enquiry, problem solving and challenge? Are you stimulating for your pupils the desire to learn, find out more and deepen knowledge and understanding?

“the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the learner to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas” Socrates

The Learning Cultures’ team are experts in coaching.  This gives us an edge in the techniques required to be innovative in how to ask the right questions.  We know that incisive and focused questioning is one of the most fundamental skills a coach must develop. It is also the most powerful pedagogy in the classroom. This exceptional time in our lives and the lives of all our learners provides us with the time to reflect on how to skilfully use questioning as a stimulus for learning.

Asking open questions that start with who, when, where, what, how or why require the recipient of the question to answer fully.  Asking a learner ‘where did you find the information to inform your answer?’ ‘What do you know already about the Romans?’ cannot be answered with a yes or no answer and lead the learner to explain their reasoning or recall what they already have learnt.  We have included here some resources that you can use to reflect on how you use questioning and how you can use specific types of questioning to challenge deeper thinking, create opportunities for reflection and motivate learners to take risks and find their own solutions.

We have included a proforma that explains the main questioning types and when to use them. We have put together a few slides from a presentation we use to deepen knowledge about questioning and how to cleverly use questioning techniques as part of learning how to coach. We have also added in a list of ‘Socratic questions’ and example answers. We have also included a table that provides some examples of progressive questioning for higher levels of response linked to Bloom’s taxonomy.

Happy questioning to all of you out there learning how to teach remotely. I wonder how much will change for all of us as we remain in this virtual world for a little while longer.

We are going virtual with some of our training courses. CPD for educators while we are not in school is just as important as ensuring the right approach to teaching our pupils. Have a look below at our first suite of online CPD for educators,

 

 

 

How do you avoid the dip in performance at times of transition?

There is a worrying dip in performance and self-esteem as a result of transition from one phase or stage to the next. This can have a dramatic and profound impact on learning and achievement as pupils cross the bridge from school to school, phase to phase or key stage to key stage.

Planning for transition should be a priority. This imperative is well-documented in current research and commentary linked to high quality curriculum design and delivery.  Curriculum and subject leaders are encouraged to focus on ensuring that pupils work towards ‘clearly defined end points’, to ensure that ‘pupils are ready for the next stage of their education’ , that ‘pupils build on their prior learning’ and that ‘the learning is sequenced to ensure a deepening of knowledge and understanding’. OFSTED Handbook for schools.

To have the evidence for any of the above, stakeholders involved in transition must have the resources to work together to design strategies that support a shared vision for cohesion and co-operation across the transition bridge. The dip is most profound when pupils move from school to school such as from infant to junior and from junior to secondary.

There should be evidence of a shared understanding of what has gone before and what is expected of pupils when they arrive at their new school. Data in itself is useful but there is a wealth of other information that needs to be gathered and shared in order to make sure that all pupils can thrive and continue to learn as they move from one setting to the next. There are so many opportunities for transition and curriculum leaders to gather vital intelligence about pupils and their potential.

  • How well has the dispatching school covered the national curriculum across the core and foundation subjects?
  • How can the receiving school build on prior learning?
  • What skills do pupils have that support their acquisition of knowledge and how can these be built upon?
  • How well do pupils read both fiction and non-fiction and what strategies can be transferred to support intervention?
  • What are the interests, hobbies and strengths that individual pupils bring with them when they move school?
  • How different is the pedagogy and how does a change of approach impact on learning?
  • How can the receiving school assess the quality of writing and competence in speaking and listening and numeracy skills to ensure a dip in performance can be allayed?

This intelligence will not happen without a clear strategy developed and implemented by a coalition from both sides from the relevant phase or stage. Communication, visual resources and clearly defined actions agreed by all will deliver a new dawn that ensures pupils do not dip in performance but accelerate their learning and move inexorably towards successful outcomes for all pupils.

Learning Cultures have two superb and highly praised courses to support transition leaders, year heads and those with the responsibility for the curriculum. Bring your transition partners and work together with our experts to develop seamless learning between KS1 and 2 or between KS2 and 3.

 

Create a culture of positive curriculum and pedagogical change through coaching

How do leaders and managers foster an ethos where influential professional learning conversations lead to positive and highly visible change?  The answer is to create a coaching culture where each individual knows the part he or she can play in achieving the vision, intent and rationale for curriculum innovation and pedagogical improvement.

“Coaching is empowering people by facilitating self-directed learning, personal growth and improved performance”

Coaching is about building trust where staff can use their imagination, channel their energies and share ideas.  The coaching conversation provides an opportunity for two or more individuals to work together to find solutions and build strategies that lead to positive change. Coaching is non-judgemental and non-directive so that all staff are able feel empowered in taking the initiative and the responsibility for achieving their own clearly articulated goals and targets.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”

When individuals learn how to coach, they change their approach to professional interaction with others and begin to have much more control over the outcomes and impact of the strategies that are planned and implemented. This is so powerful in education. Individual staff are emboldened to want to find the solution and not to dwell on the problem.

“Telling or asking a closed question saves people from having to think. Asking open questions causes them to think for themselves”

The power lies in the learning. Learning how to listen actively and incisively. Learning how to ask open and deeply rich questions linked to what is being said or inferred. Learning how to be patient and sometimes silent in the quest for collective ownership and the successful solving and resolving of issues and problems. Learning how to challenge but be objective and fair. Learning how to focus on the positives and find strengths in self and others.

“If I give you my advice and it fails, you will blame me. I have traded my advice for your responsibility and that is seldom a good deal”

Developing a coaching approach builds a learning culture where collaboration ultimately leads to the sharing and cascading of ideas, of good practice and of innovation and achievement. All staff are able to communicate through motivational dialogue the part they play in achieving the stated vision. They articulate and celebrate their successes and don’t dwell on when things go wrong but focus on how they can learn from the situation and move forward.  Every school or college has a wealth of potential to achieve great things. Untap the talent that is within every individual that has chosen to belong to an education community by giving them a chance to learn how to be a coach.

The coaching courses Learning Cultures offer are designed as a CPD journey. For leaders to plan a strategy, for middle leaders to implement a coaching culture, for teachers who can learn together and use coaching as a powerful pedagogy in the classroom; for Teaching Assistants and support staff who can learn how to nurture and challenge using coaching; for Cover Supervisors to help them have the presence to be more confident when the teacher is not present.

Quotes are attributable to John Whitmore and Bresser and Wilson. All our courses are built on extensive sector led research.  We have created an approach that ensures those who attend can take all the resources back to their colleagues to share and cascade their learning.

Have the answers to the ‘deep dive’ questions being asked about your curriculum

Our expert curriculum team have developed a suite of highly interactive training linked to  the ‘deep dive’ questions OFSTED are asking of school leaders and managers. We have drawn on several commentaries to compile this list both from Headteachers who are currently mopping up after an inspection to eminent researchers and commentators who have surveyed the depths to offer advice on how to reach the surface successfully.

Creating the culture that will ensure there is a synchronised approach to curriculum design, high quality pedagogy, subject expertise, assessment and evaluation requires senior leaders to create a clearly defined plan that all staff can navigate by. In order to achieve this everyone needs to work together within their subject and as part of cross-curricular and cross-phase teams to confidently have the answers to  some of these questions.  

All staff need to have a definite and clear understanding as to the answers that mirror the school’s intent and ambition for the curriculum and for the pupils it serves. The right management processes need to be in place.  Subject and curriculum teams need to have the answers at their fingertips about how they deliver  a well-sequenced, conceptual and progressive curriculum. The focus must be on leaders and managers creating a longitudinal and latitudinal chart that all staff can interpret, plan with and deliver.

One theme that resonates across all the examples of questions we have seen is the need to ensure there is professional development support including high quality training  so staff can confidently deliver the curriculum.

Here at Learning Cultures we have focused on the answers to the many questions being asked of leaders, managers and subject specialists.  We have created a CPD offer that covers all the elements that need to be in place to ensure the curriculum is safely delivered. Our training offer is highly interactive, provides a range of useful re-usable resources and activities and is built on highly respected sector led research.

The questions provide a revealing spotlight into what school leaders in both primary and secondary schools need to look for themselves when assessing the successful implementation of their stated aims and goals for the curriculum. However, subject leaders and their teams need to have the  answers that reveal a kaleidoscope of creative and innovative learning that is consistent and leads to parity and progression for all learners. Essentially, this requires schools to embark on an immersive CPD journey towards dry land.

For leadership teams

For subject and curriculum leads

For all those who assess learning

Look at our courses on transition from KS1 to KS2 and transition from KS 2 to KS3 and our courses for those involved in embedding literacy and numeracy across the curriculum

 

What are the questions that will reassure leaders that intent is translated into subject specific deep learning?

We have put together a set of ‘deep dive’ questions for leaders and managers. They are modelled on a wealth of education articles and from some headteachers who are currently drying out after OFSTED’s plunge into their school’s curriculum and how it is constructed and delivered. It is these questions that OFSTED are asking senior, curriculum and subject leaders before they submerge themselves in classroom practice, pedagogy and learning outcomes and then embark on conversations with teachers and pupils.

All staff need to be able to answer with confidence some of these questions.  Essentially, their purpose is to ascertain to what extent there is consistent high- quality pedagogy, expert subject knowledge and a profound understanding of learning and how it happens across all subjects and within cross-curricular learning.

Creating this cohesion requires the right management processes to support subject and curriculum teams to have the answers at their fingertips about how they deliver a well-sequenced, conceptual and progressive curriculum. They need to have cohesive curriculum maps will that give all leaders and managers with a curriculum focus a blue print or roadmap to ensure that learning builds over time taking into account prior learning, gaps in learning for some and extending learning for others and assured progression for all.

The emphasis on continuing professional learning and support for all staff across the school is evident in all the examples of questions that we have drawn from. All staff need to know what it means to sequence learning, to develop pupils’ conceptual understanding, to create curriculum maps, assess for progression and assess for deep learning and understanding. We have been an integral part of curriculum development and the CPD that is an essential element of it for over twenty years. There is a logic to what is being asked for here. It is not about the inspectorate it is about your school, your staff and your pupils and ensuring the best outcomes for all. The questions are a good starting point for an immersion into curriculum design, powerful pedagogy and expert teaching and learning. Our training will give you the answers that are still lurking below the surface either forgotten or not yet understood.

For leadership teams

For subject and curriculum leads

For all those who assess learning

Look at our courses on transition from KS1 to KS2 and transition from KS 2 to KS3 and our courses for those involved in embedding literacy and numeracy across the curriculum

How does coaching deliver high quality curriculum and learning outcomes?

Coaching in education is a powerful pedagogy. Creating the right culture for change is far easier to manage where coaching principles are a part of the process. Coaching is solutions focused, builds on what already works well and highlights the positive.

The current imperative to look closely at the curriculum and how it is designed and delivered has many elements that all need expert leadership and careful management.  Research from OFSTED is helping to explain some of the drivers for change but does not necessarily provide the answers to how that change might be implemented effectively across all phases, year groups and subjects.  Learning how to coach can provide all staff with the skills, self-belief and self-awareness that will help them to have the confidence to innovate and give them the tools and skills to shape a new future together with their teams, their colleagues and their pupils.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”

It is clear from reports and experiences from those who have recently been visited by OFSTED that inspectors are not spending much time interviewing the head or the senior leadership team, they are heading into the classroom, talking to teachers and to pupils, reviewing how the curriculum content is determined, sequenced and assessed and looking closely at the quality of output from pupils. They want to see the expertise of leadership as a part of the learning process and how that leadership translates into a high quality, deep and rich curriculum delivered by highly trained and well-informed practitioners.

Where coaching is the driver for change there are superb opportunities for professional dialogue where individuals can share their planning, look for cross-curricular opportunities and collaborate about pedagogy, progression and learning.  Where teachers learn how to coach, they also have a repertoire of skills including deep and rich questioning strategies, influencing techniques and active listening skills that will reap outstanding opportunities for progression and deeper learning in the classroom.

Create a learning culture through coaching and be safe in the knowledge that there is outstanding learning emerging from a deep and rich curriculum and through a shared dialogue and commitment to continuous improvement. We have designed a coaching culture with a series of coaching courses for all staff working in education.