The right professional development will ensure that all teachers continuously develop so that they feel able to challenge, innovate and always deliver good and outstanding lessons. This is the basic premise of an article about coaching in the TES of Friday 20th April. Written by a Rhode Island US Professor, Matthew Kraft, he says,
“if you want better teachers, schools need to embrace the power of coaching”.
CPD is an essential part of school life.
The phrase professional development has replaced performance management in the current incarnation of the OFSTED handbook. This suggests that OFSTED want to see that there is a clear link between ongoing teacher improvement and the professional development that teachers have access to. Measuring teacher performance is an output, professional development is an input. Without highly effective training, collaboration and the sharing and disseminating of good practice improvements in performance are unlikely to be sustained.
The article goes on to say that, “teacher coaching models are one of the most promising alternatives to traditional CPD. ”
Why introduce coaching CPD in a school or college context?
Coaching is challenging and focuses on continuous learning. The reason why coaching is proven to be a highly successful medium for delivering CPD in a school is that coaching starts with what is working well. The school recognises the talent and expertise that already exists and uses whole school CPD to cascade good and outstanding practice widely. There is an inherent belief that all teachers are able to improve and grow in their role. There is a culture where there is no such thing as failure, only the opportunity to learn from mistakes through the use of highly effective professional coaching conversations.
What are the first steps towards developing a coaching CPD model in your organisation?
The first step is to be clear about what coaching actually means. How is it different from mentoring, teaching, instruction or counselling? Learning how to coach is a powerful leadership skill. A leader can take control whilst focusing on how others can be the drivers for the vision, where one can delegate and be confident that successful and well-trained and well-informed teams can deliver.
What happens next is critical. Leaders and managers need to have a profound understanding of where excellent practice exists and how it can be shared and cascaded as part of a sustainable CPD strategy. Staff across the school, in whatever phase of education, need to be aware of their own strengths, gaps in their learning and how they can fill them through collaboration with their peers and through focused CPD that is carefully planned and linked to the individual, team and organisational goals.
Creating a coaching culture in a school or college
Creating a coaching culture in a school or college takes time to embed. However, from the very beginning there are benefits and high quality learning opportunities where staff, whether they are leaders, managers, teachers or their support teams begin to develop a range of coaching skills that are without doubt those that link closely to the pedagogy that delivers outstanding learning and teaching.
As part of the journey towards creating a coaching culture all staff will learn and develop a range of skills associated with coaching. The most important of these are how to use deep and rich questioning techniques and how to listen actively in order to be able to influence change and support others to self-reflect and find their own solutions. These skills are inhererent in good classroom practice, essential as part of highly effective meetings and in the development of strategies that need to be communicated in order that they become successful outcomes.
Learning Cultures are leading providers of coaching CPD for schools and colleges
The coaching training that Learning Cultures deliver is built on many years of research and practical examples of what works in schools and college across the UK and beyond. We can offer a suite of courses for individuals or groups of staff to attend on one or more of our off-site courses. Alternatively, we offer a variety of in-school training, INSET and consultancy. We are, without doubt, the leading provider of coaching training for the education profession. Delegates learn new skills, are stretched and challenged and leave full of enthusiasm and real practical ideas of how to take their learning forward. Below is a list of the courses we recommend to start your coaching journey.
- Leading a Coaching School – Empowering a culture of positive change that cascades continuous improvement
- Coaching for Middle Leaders – How to influence change and lead from the middle
- Coaching for Pastoral Leaders and Year Heads – Enhance well-being, improve behaviour, inspire confidence
- Coaching Towards Outstanding Teaching and Learning
- Coaching for Teaching Assistants and Support Staff