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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

The Four Support Functions: Evaluating

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


September 03, 2018

In the 3rd edition of Cognitive Coaching: Developing Self-directed Leaders and Learning (2016), Costa and Garmston “distinguish four functions intended to support teacher development: evaluating, collaborating, consulting, and mediating/coaching” (9). The authors assert that the “skillful coach will ultimately default to Cognitive Coaching as it is most likely to support self-directed learning” (9). With the new school year starting, professionals will need to make decisions about who they want to be as they serve students and colleagues. The Adaptive Schools Focusing Questions would serve as reminders: Who are we? Who do we need to be?; Why are we doing this?; Why are we doing this, this way? Professionals need to be clear about their intentions before selecting a Support Function. This month’s Sustaining the Journey will look at each one of the Four Support Functions.

Evaluating: If the intention is to assess whether an individual is conforming to external standards, rubrics, or professional standards that have been adopted by an organization, evaluating is the support function of choice. Evaluating may be used to assess teacher performance, provide constructive feedback, or provide direction for staff professional development (10). Conversations might be around pedagogy, adopted rubrics, school expectations, or other pre-established criteria. Here the feedback may take the form of judgment, personal observations, advice, or collected data. The support person takes on the role of “boss” and evaluator. In the Cognitive Coachingsm Foundation Seminar, we stress: Carl Glickman says the same person can coach and evaluate IF:

• Trust exists in the relationship and the process;

• The behaviors are distinct;

• The teacher knows which is happening when.

What might be some instances when you are asked to evaluate?

How might you make your intentions clear and signal your role with explicit behaviors?

What might be some of the options you have to embed for self-directed learning?

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