Coaching and Mentoring Lead to

Professional Growth

Introduction

Coaching and mentoring can lead to professional growth for all stakeholders: the coach/mentor, administration, and teachers. Professional growth can be obtained through defining roles and establishing relationships, engaging in effective communication, by setting goals, and thinking reflectively.

Defining Roles and Establishing Relationships

Roles

  • Coach / Mentor - roles include providing learning opportunities, support, guidance, provide learning goals, help understand curriculum, help analyze data, provides professional development, provide guidance and help to teachers.
  • Teacher - roles include being open-minded, accepting change, understand curriculum, analyze data, attend professional development, set learning goals, and accept support and guidance.
  • Administrator - roles include overseeing mentors/coaches, setting expectations for mentors/coaches, creating agendas, provide support, and offer guidance and direction.


Establishing Relationships

Establishing relationships between coach/mentor, teacher, and administrator is important for professional growth.

  • Everyone involved must understand their role and what is expected of them and of others.
  • When establishing relationships, there must be trust among all roles.
  • Everyone needs to bring a positive attitude and be supportive of one another.
  • Everyone should follow expectations of their role.
  • Everyone should be open-minded and accept change if it occurs.
  • Everyone should communicate openly and effectively.

Effective Communication

· Good communication skills is the key to successful coaching in an educational system. Without it a stagnated relationship between the coach and the teacher would develop.

· The coach should utilize active listening skills to ensure the teacher has the opportunity to share reasoning behind the approaches they are taking in their classroom (Danielson, 2013).

· Effective active listening strategies that may be utilized to ensure the coach respects and shows interest in the teachers point of views are:

o inviting the teacher into the conversation,

o making eye contact with the teacher,

o asking questions that correlate to the teachers responses,

o paraphrasing statements or questions the teacher has stated or asked,

o and asking for examples and possible solutions to the issues the teacher has brought forward.

Setting Goals

· Goals should be SMART; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely

o Specific: Common language, easy for all to understand

o Measurable: A specified way of how the goal will be measure to identify success

o Achievable: Complete within projected timeframe using available resources to prevent frustration

o Relevant: Goals should match the beliefs of the educator and the mission of the school

o Timely: Establish a time frame for goal completion; all goals should be completed by end of school year

(MacLeod, 2012)

· Mentors and mentees should collaborate together to set goals and progress benchmarks to meet their overall desired goal(s)

· Work alongside coach/mentor to produce various strategies in order to analyze data

o Analysis shows the success/ areas to improve in both students and teachers

Reflective Thinking

Researchers recognize that teachers need to become lifelong learners to maintain their professionalism. This requires the teacher to use reflection and inquiry processes in the classroom for individual development of learners and promoting a learning community within the school (Fletcher & Mullen, 2012). Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works- a process of self-observation and self-evaluation.

Teacher Diary – After each lesson write what happened; describe your reactions and feelings and those of your students as well. Pose questions about what you observed.

o What went well in the lesson?

o If students were not engaged – what were they doing, when and why?

Record lessons – Audio recordings can be useful for considering aspects of teacher talk

o How much do you talk?

o What about?

o Are instructions and explanations clear?

o How much time is allocated for student talk?

Video recordings – show aspects of your own behavior (body language)

o Position in the classroom

o Who you speak to

o How you come across to the students

Peer observation – Invite coach, mentor, or colleague to observe in your classroom. This can be a simple observation or thorough note taking on the area you have identified.

o Voice

o How you adjust when you have lost engagement/understanding of content

Student feedback – Ask your students what they think about what goes on in the classroom. Their opinions and perceptions can add a varying perspective.

o Questionnaires

o Learning diaries

Conclusion

When teachers, coaches, and administrators are open to and engaged in the process of coaching then professional growth is a side effect experienced by all stakeholders. We grow in our abilities to communicate with each other, develop meaningful relationships, set goals for ourselves, and think reflectively about how we can be better teachers.

References

Danielson, C. (2013). Educational Impact: Effective Coaching Skills. Retrieved from https://www.educationalimpact.com/programs/programs/activity/TeacherEval_04a_02/


Fletcher, S. J., & Mullen, C. A. (Eds.). (2012). Overviews of mentoring and coaching. Mentoring and coaching in education. [Adobe Digital Editions].http://dx.doi.org/1000- 0001-D9D2-00103E15


MacLeod, L. (2012). Making SMART goals smarter. Physician Executive, 38(2), 68-70. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1284082621?accountid=35812