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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Capital is an asset in any form. Professional Capital includes Human Capital, Social Capital, Cognitive Capital, and Decisional Capital.

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


July 04, 2016

Fullan and Hargreaves, in an Ed Week article entitled “Reviving Teaching with ‘Professional Capital’” (2012) described the need for Professional Capital to offset the staggering losses of talented teachers in the profession. They cited research from 2010 to 2012 that revealed a sharp decline in educators reporting to be very satisfied with their jobs, from 59 percent to 44 percent. Even more disconcerting is that the number of teachers that stated that they were leaving the profession jumped from 17 to 29 percent. The National Education Association recently released this statement: “The statistics for teacher turnover among new teachers are startling. Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years. In urban districts, the numbers are worse. Close to 50 percent of newcomers leave the profession during their first five years of teaching.”

So, how might that disturbing trend be reversed? Perhaps job satisfaction, autonomy, and efficacy can be increased by harnessing the capital that exists within the educational system through Cognitive Coachingsm and Adaptive Schools. With Adaptive Schools training we aspire to develop identities as collaborators, inquirers, and leaders and enable systems to work smarter and more efficiently together. As Cognitive Coaches, we work to support others in becoming more self-directed. Costa and Garmston have defined self-directedness as being self-managing, self-monitoring, and self-modifying. With both bodies of work, we mediate identity and their congruent behaviors and capacities as well as teach the skills that are required for coaching, collaborating, inquiring, and leading.

Dr. Jenny Edwards in Cognitive Coachingsm : A Synthesis of the Research (January 2016, 12th ed.) states in outcome #4 that “teachers were more satisfied with their positions and with their choice of teaching as a profession” as a result of their exposure to Cognitive Coachingsm. Compared to matched control groups, teachers with Cognitive Coachingsm were more satisfied with their professions and positions because of the support that those trained in Cognitive Coaching sm gave to one another (Awakuni, 1995).

In particular, the Planning Conversation “is directly linked to developing cognition about being self-managing and self-monitoring. It assists the planner in being self-managing by determining intended outcomes, clarifying success indicators, being strategic and monitoring for results. It emphasizes attention to data and drawing on previous knowledge and experience” (Sustaining the Journey, December 10, 2007).

Adaptive Schools offers the Norms of Collaboration, two ways of talking, successful meeting principles/structures, tools to harness and reframe conflict, Energy Sources, and a variety of protocols to help systems function at their best.

So, what exactly is “capital” in a system and how can we work to increase it through coaching and collaborative practice?

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