In Powerful Designs for Professional Learning, 1st edition (2004), Lois Easton defines peer coaching as “a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace” (Handout 1, Chapter 16).
The benefits of peer coaching, as presented in this week’s Joyce and Showers (2002) book excerpt, include:
- Heightened sense of individual competence and professionalism
- Proactive stance in teachers (i.e., teachers who are able to state what they need)
- Collaborative analysis of teaching and planning that leads to more focused practice
- Mutual study and problem solving leading to higher degrees of professional competence
- Teachers thinking together about the effect of their behavior on student learning
This week provides an opportunity to explore peer coaching or expand on your peer coaching experiences by engaging in a peer coaching session.
Note: You should plan to videotape a portion of this activity (see below).
In preparation for this week’s Discussion, arrange to work with the colleague you interviewed in Week 3 or with any other teacher colleague who is in the process of implementing a new or revised practice. Use the steps provided in the Gottesman excerpt from Peer Coaching for Educators to guide you. Initial Planning
- Ask your colleague to share problems or issues, as well as successes and individual strengths related to the new or revised practice
- Determine a focus for your observation and a day and time when you can observe the teacher implementing the practice and spend time reflecting on the lesson or activity
- Be sure you have your colleague’s permission to videotape your coaching/reflection session
Observation and Reflection
Observation (“The Visit”)
- Observe the lesson or activity and collect data related to the focus you determined prior to your visit
- Take a few minutes prior to meeting with your colleague to review your notes and the data you collected
- Prepare questions to ask your colleague related to the focus of your observation
- Generate two or more suggestions you will provide if your colleague asks for them
Reflection (“Talk after the Visit”)
- Videotape this meeting so that you can review and critique your peer coaching session at a later time.
Note:If you anticipate difficulty videotaping your session, be sure to contact the Faculty Member in advance to make alternate arrangements.
- As you reflect on the lesson or activity with your colleague, follow the guidelines provided in Chapter 7, “The Talk after the Visit” in the Gottesman excerpt, Peer Coaching for Educators,from this week’s Learning Resources.
Process Review (“Reflection on Peer Coaching”)
Note: While Gottesman (2000) suggests that the teacher and the peer coach conduct this step together, for the purposes of this course, you will reflect on the peer coaching session on your own.
- Review the video and critique the coaching session using the questions provided in Chapter 8, “Ther Process Review and Reflection on Peer Coaching” of the Gottesman excerpt, Peer Coaching for Educators,from this week’s Learning Resources.
- Based on this and possibly other peer coaching experiences, consider the role of peer coaching in supporting and sustaining professional development initiatives. In what areas do you want to build your peer coaching skills? Does this coaching model already exist in your school? If so, how effective is the model? If not, how might you advocate for this model?
By Wednesday of Week 5:
Post a brief summary of the peer coaching session you conducted in preparation for this Discussion. Be sure to include your critique of the videotaped session based on the Process Review questions provided in the Gottesman excerpt from this week’s Learning Resources. What seemed to go particularly well, and what might you do differently next time? Share your ideas about the role of peer coaching in supporting professional development implementation and whether or not this model is a reality in your school.