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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

Coaching Students in the Classroom

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


March 11, 2013

While many adults value the process of being coached in their personal and professional world, they don’t always make the transfer of coaching to their classrooms. One of the most important parts of our work with educational systems is focused on building cultures that support self-directed learning. We believe if we want teachers to facilitate that with students, they must experience it themselves. Our research and experience has shown that when principals are coached, they coach teachers more, and when teachers are coached regularly, they coach students more.

So this week we invite you to think about ways you can apply coaching skills in classroom settings you are working in, whether with adult or young learners. Here are a few things we have heard others doing:

Julie Versaw, a Colorado teacher, taught the Planning Conversation Map to her young third graders and had them use it whenever they were starting something new, be it a math project or a writing project or science experiment. The kids internalized the map and she watched them mentally using it on the state assessment.

Teachers analyze their students for the five states of mind and what is high and low in each. They use that analysis to make certain they take actions to enhance the states of mind that are low. Sometimes they vary from subject matter to subject matter.

Teachers teach their students about the Filters of Perception and invite them to consider how their representational system and cognitive style impacts their learning. On an ongoing basis, they ask them to be metacognitive about their own filters.

Teachers consciously use paraphrasing in classroom discussions in order to allow the student to hear their own thinking, to cause others to hear it differently, and to check for understanding. Many teachers are teaching the three types of paraphrasing to their classes and are acknowledging students when they demonstrate proficiency.

Teachers are looking carefully about how they give feedback in the five forms of feedback learned on Day 4. Many teachers are deliberately increasing their feedback as data and meditative questions, knowing this will enhance each student’s self-directedness.

Many teachers are using the elements of an invitational question in their classroom discussions and on their written responses to student work. The goal is first and foremost to ask questions that provoke deeper thinking.

These are just a few things that we have observed in teachers who are transferring their learning of Cognitive CoachingSM into their classrooms. This week consider how you might start applying new strategies from your learning.

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