Change Agent

1c. Cultivate a supportive coaching culture that encourages educators and leaders to achieve a shared vision and individual goals. 

Coaches are often viewed as support for developing teachers’ knowledge and skills and strengthening teachers’ feelings of efficacy relative to students’ learning. In my post Digital Tools in Problem Solving Coaching Approach,  I suggest that digital technology can be used to enhance coaching interaction to be more flexible and accessible for creating a supportive coaching culture.  

The use of texting, emails, facetime, and recording to increase the consistency and timeliness of coach and teacher interactions. In my post, a video recording tool, Edthena allows teachers to upload videos of themselves teaching and share it with peers and coaches, who then comment on the video. Besides Edthena, Voxer, Google Hangouts, QuickTime, and Screencastify are also effective tools to create interactive, flexible, and feedback based coaching experiences. A more supportive coaching experience can be created using digital technology, which allows for coaches and teachers to think innovatively and creatively about how they meet and work collaboratively.  

Change Agent 

1a. Create a shared vision and culture for using technology to learn and accelerate transformation through the coaching process. 

Coaching is often viewed as for addressing problems of practice as intellectual and practical challenges. In my post Digital Tools in Problem Solving Coaching Approach, I focused on the need to use a problem-solving coaching model to support coach and teacher to create a shared vision and culture in the coaching process. The problem- solving coaching model from Toll (2017) from my research has three- phase: (1) identifying a problem; (2) describing it, using careful analysis of student data; and (3) deciding on a course of action to try something different after careful goal setting and brainstorming of solution. Through this model, it enhances reflective conversations between coach and teacher to see and improve instruction more objectively. 

Reference 

Toll, C.A. (2017). A problem- solving model for literacy coaching practice. The Reading Teacher, 70(4), 413–421. https://cehd.gmu.edu/assets/docs/math_literacy/Session%2011%20Problem-solving%20Coaching%20article.pdf 

Change Agent 

1e. Connect leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers to maximize the potential of technology for learning. 

The source in this project will not be identified for privacy reasons. 

Background 

The Middle School Dual Language Immersion Program in my school district began piloting a program to support Dual Language Immersion students’ literacy development in December of 2021. This program has adapted a digital literacy learning platform called MM. Dual Language Immersion program in our district has been lacking literacy materials and assessment to align curriculum and literacy standards from kindergarten to 8th grade. It has been a challenge for district and school leaders to measure dual language immersion students’ literacy development in the target language since each immersion school is using varied materials and assessment in teaching literacy.  

This digital tool is a customized, cloud-based guided reading platform for second language learners from kindergarten through middle school. Their online classroom offers an integrated range of learning tools that have been designed to be user-friendly and engaging, allowing each student to follow their individual learning journey toward developing knowledge of the language and improving personal proficiency outcomes.  

A survey was conducted in students’ and teachers’ attitude toward this learning platform using Microsoft Forms in February. As reflecting on one of the survey results from both teachers and students, kindergarten and first grade students have experienced challenges logging into the platform independently due to the long username and password. Without being able to log into the platform independently, it resulted in kindergarten and 1st grade teachers spending a significant amount of time helping students login during instruction, and students are not able to use the platform outside of school time. It defeats the purpose of providing students with literacy support at home.  

Learning and Success  

A solution was to integrate this digital tool into the current cloud system called Clever in our district. However, the integration did not go well due to the system requirements and miscommunication among teachers, tech support staff, and vendors. As a teacher leader for our Dual Language teaching team, I believe to maximize the potential of this digital tool for learning, we need to establish a dedicated support network for our teachers and students. Therefore, I worked closely with our international school leaders, district technology support leaders and staff, technology support from vendor, and teachers to identify the integration issue and address and problem solve the issue in the Professional Development workshop. At the end of the workshop, our team of leaders and tech support staff confirmed that the integration cannot be implemented due to the district system requirement. However, the collaboration during this process has demonstrated the following learning and success:  

  • Our current technology support from the district is lacking a follow-up support network and feedback channels for teachers and students to share and request additional support. For example, after a digital tool is approved by the district, this tool is available for teachers and students to use without any further integration support, or the district assumes follow-up support should be provided from vendor.  
  • Our teachers and students rely on getting technology support from the district by filing a “tech ticket”. A method of using a tech ticket to ask for support requires teachers and students to understand the tech issue and the language and terminology used to describe their questions and decode the answer received back from the tech support. While teachers tried to file “tech ticket” and received answers with complicated instructions and tech language, they were less motivated to continue moving forward in using the tool for teaching and learning.
  • Although our team was not able to make the integration happen successfully, teachers in the workshop had opportunities to express their feedback and suggestions in the process. Technology leaders from our district recommended and facilitated other solutions, for example using a different browser to remember username and password. Technology support from vendor also provided accommodation by shortening usernames and passwords for kindergarten and first grade students.  

In conclusion, a support network established by leaders, educators, instructional support, technical support, domain experts and solution providers need to be in place to maximize the potential of technology for learning in schools, and this network should be implemented as a district expectation for all technology learning tools to ensure the confidence in teachers and students.  

Change Agent 

1d. Recognize educators across the organization who use technology effectively to enable high-impact teaching and learning. 

A digital portfolio is a collection of digital works, they can be essays, posters, images, videos, and artwork. Digital portfolios can be used by students to put together portfolios for capstone or research projects. Teachers can use a digital portfolio to create a professional portfolio or gather items around areas they would like to explore or demonstrate their expertise. For this standard, I would like to refer to my post from May 2021, Digital Portfolio for Educators.  

This post addresses educators seeking opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and improve teaching and learning by creating digital portfolio. Digital portfolio creation resulted in increased teacher learning about technology, a reexamination of their pedagogy, better comprehension of their students’ learning, reflective processes, and assessment, and reciprocal learning between teachers and students. Digital portfolios can be used as a tool to highlight and recognize educators across the organization who use technology to enable high-impact teaching and learning by assess student learning and use as self-reflection to demonstrate and improve teaching practices.  

Change Agent

1b: Facilitate equitable use of digital learning tools and content that meet the needs of each learner. 

Technology has implemented a new form of learning in education and digital learning tools and online schools have become a choice for many districts and students. In my post from September 2020, Accountability of Online Schools, I explored the accountability of schools in providing and implementing quality online education to students from K-12. I also investigate accountability system and measurement of online schools to understand if digital learning tools and content meet the needs of students.  

Online learning requires teachers to deliver content and instruction through the internet and students learn and demonstrate their academic performance through the internet. From my post, the result clearly shows that the current accountability system from many online learning does not acknowledge or track student mobility nor reflect the quality of student learning experience. Leaders and policy makers review and facilitate changes to our current accountability system for schools with remote learning.  

Follow Up Support after Teacher Professional Development  

ISTE standard: Professional Learning Facilitator 

Coaches plan, provide and evaluate the impact of professional learning for educators and leaders to use technology to advance teaching and learning. Coaches: 

c. Evaluate the impact of professional learning and continually make improvements in order to meet the schoolwide vision for using technology for high-impact teaching and learning. 

Successful implementation of education technologies depends upon extensive, high-quality teacher professional development and ongoing support (Martin et al. 2010). PD opportunities offered in many districts often are traditional one-time workshops that do not provide sufficient time to help teachers effectively use technology in their specific context and teaching practices. How to plan effective professionally learning and provide continuous support to educators in using educational technology?   

The goal of professional development is the effective implementation of skills and strategies that enhance knowledge and transfer of learning (CDC, 2019). According to Trotter (2006), research around adult learning has identified four key principles for high-quality teacher learning activities: 

  • Use of concrete experiences (i.e., coherence): Activities that are explicitly linked to curriculum teachers use, their classroom/school context, and their individual needs and interests. 
  • Continuously available feedback (i.e., sustained duration): Activities that provide teachers with sufficient time to learn and reflect on strategies that improve their practice. 
  • Encouragement of teachers to take on new and complex roles (i.e., active learning): Activities that provide teachers with opportunities to get hands-on experiences in designing and/or trying new instructional strategies. 
  • Collaboration (i.e., collective participation): Activities that give teachers the opportunities to share their ideas, work collaboratively, and help with each other’s learning. 

I find the second key principle, continuously available feedback, has been the missing key for many professional developments for teachers. Effective professional development includes the planning for and provision of one or more follow-up support strategies after a professional development event. Follow-up support is intended to strengthen the transfer of learned strategies or skills so they will be retained and applied effectively. It may take place over time and can be altered as the needs of the participants change. Follow-up support is not the introduction of new information; it is the reinforcement of information provided at the professional development event (CDC, 2019).

The World Bank Blog (2021) also suggested 8 tips to help policymakers structure an effective one-on-one teacher support system: 

  1. Determine whether the system would benefit most from a ‘highly structured” support model or a “low structured” support model. 
  1. Regardless of the support model, ensure pedagogical leaders do not simultaneously support teachers and act as their evaluators. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders are not responsible for too many teachers. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders are visiting teachers at least once per month and for the duration of the school year. 
  1. When conducting classroom observations, ensure pedagogical leaders use a classroom observation tool and observe teachers for the full duration of the lesson. 
  1. Ensure pedagogical leaders provide feedback to teachers following an observation. 
  1. If in-person support is not possible, encourage pedagogical leaders to provide feedback and encouragement through a hybrid model of virtual and on-site support.  
  1. Programs that focus on providing ongoing support to teachers must be embedded within a larger system infrastructure focused on supporting, motivating, and developing teachers throughout their full career cycle. 

Too often technology professional learning is one time event, because it is facilitated by people outside of the school community. Digital Promise (2020) suggested that creating an environment where teachers are supporting one another in learning and implementing new teaching strategies, tools, and frameworks throughout the year will both increase collaboration among teachers and help to spread best practices. This environment can be created and maintained using instructional technology coaches, teams of teacher leaders, or other systems of support within schools. 

Finally, to provide ongoing support to teachers, particularly in learning educational technology, schools should harness the power of instructional technology coaches, leverage the expertise of teacher leaders, and provide opportunities for peer-led professional learning, for example, implement peer demonstration classrooms that allow teachers to use new tools and teaching strategies while being observed by peers who can provide feedback and get ideas about how to use those same tools and strategies in their own classrooms (Digital Promise, 2020).  

Reference  

Martin, W., Strother, S.A., Beglau, M., Bates, L., Reitzes, T., & McMillan Culp, K. (2010). Connecting Instructional Technology Professional Development to Teacher and Student Outcomes. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43, 53 – 74. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ898528.pdf 

Trotter, Y. D. (2006). Adult Learning Theories: Impacting Professional Development Programs. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 72(2). https://verizon.digitalpromise.org/elements-of-success/provide-ongoing-embedded-professional-learning-opportunities-for-teachers/ 

Provide ongoing, embedded professional learning opportunities for teachers (2020) Digital Promise. https://verizon.digitalpromise.org/elements-of-success/provide-ongoing-embedded-professional-learning-opportunities-for-teachers/ 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Follow-up Support Tool Kit. (2019) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/tths/followup_toolkit-508.pdf 

8 Tips to Structure Effective One-to-One Support Systems for Teachers. Wilichowski, T. & Popova, A., (2021). World Bank Blog. https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/8-tips-structure-effective-one-one-support-systems-teachers 

How to Measure Effective Coaching?

ISTE-C Standard 2: Connected Learner 

Coaches model the ISTE Standards for Students and the ISTE Standards for Educators and identify ways to improve their coaching practice. Coaches: 

b. Actively participate in professional learning networks to enhance coaching practice and keep current with emerging technology and innovations in pedagogy and the learning sciences.  

c. Establish shared goals with educators, reflect on successes and continually improve coaching and teaching practice. 

Coaching is a job-embedded, individualized, data-driven, and sustained practice. Although approaches to coaching vary in different schools and districts, many assert coaching models share a focus on prioritizing instructional needs, established goal-driven plans of support, modeling, facilitating teacher practice, and providing ongoing regular feedback to promote high-fidelity instructional practices. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) As both coach and teacher continually reflect on successes and improvement, how to measure the success and effectiveness of coaching? How do we assess teacher growth as a part of measuring the impact of coaching because sometime impact might be demonstrated after coaching sessions?  

In many districts, coaches reside within the district or school with supervision from an administrative leader. An ongoing evaluation of key coaching competencies assessments and survey is essential to enhancing effective practices. 

The Instructional Coaching Assessment  

The Instructional Coaching Assessment (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) is an online, multirater assessment system that provides feedback reports to support the evaluation and development of instructional coaching talent. According to Reddy (2019), the assessment approach involves conducting a 360° assessment, completed by the coach, teachers served by the coach, and/or the coach’s supervisor. A 360° assessment offers a comprehensive assessment of coaching effectiveness and interactions by capturing feedback from key stakeholders involved in the coaching process. Each stakeholder provides unique and complimentary perspectives on the coaching process that is valuable for informing the effectiveness of the coaching process.  

The Instructional Coaching Assessment is an evidence-centered assessment, the measures are designed to generate data-specific performance feedback by using score that assesses coaching skill-focused actions to promote positive coaching outcomes/competencies. The assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of a coach’s effectiveness at implementing problem-solving actions with teachers. This involves the collection of sources of evidence that support performance feedback from multiple informants. The evidence-centered, action–outcome framework provides a systematic approach to measure and drive continuous improvement for coaching talent and schools. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) 

Assessments include four online assessments and feedback reports to inform continuous improvement for coaching for teachers.  

Figures 3 and 4 are the feedback reports which provide valuable information for creating targeted PD for coaches and monitoring coaching improvements over time. In addition, aggregate reporting and graphic performance feedback are available for three descriptive groups/levels: school district, school, and individual coaches. Several utility analyses have been conducted with the Feedback Reports to ensure they communicate efficiently and effectively with users. (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019) 

However, coaches often find themselves in high-stakes, critically important roles expected to lead school reform efforts with little or no professional preparation for successfully performing such tasks. Effectiveness of coaching often depends on many other factors, such as teacher motivation and system support. Kelly and Knight (2019) have identified seven factors that must be in place for coaches to be successful and effective.  

  • Partnership  
  • A Coaching Process. While every coaching situation presents unique challenges, an established process for guiding the coaching experience ensures that instructional coaches have all the tools they need to help teachers set and achieve their goals. 
  • Teaching Strategies. Coach partnering with teachers to modify their instruction to meet student-focused goals. 
  • Gathering Data. Data is important within coaching because it provides a way to identify goals and monitor progress. Goals need to be measured frequently 
  • Communication Beliefs & Habits. Coaches need to be effective communicators and employ effective coaching skills that reflect healthy beliefs about communication. 
  • Leadership. Leadership can be divided into two parts: leading yourself and leading others. To lead yourself, you must know your purpose and principles, how to use your time effectively, and how to take care of yourself. To lead others, a combination of ambition and humility is needed – to be reliable and ambitious for change but at the same time responsive to teachers. 
  • System support. Coaches work in settings where leaders are intentional and disciplined about providing the support that is required for coaching success to occur. Two of the most important are administrative support and time management. 

In conclusion, coaches are leaders in delivering effective coaching practice to meet the complex needs of educators and students. Becoming an effective coach requires problem, data use and interpretation, modeling, facilitative practice, performance feedback, and overall interaction style that, in combination, effectively and efficiently can result in professional growth for educators and school improvement. Thus, an effective coach not only requires specialized training but also ongoing support and accurate feedback that is useful, specific, and immediate (Reddy, Glover, Kurz, & Elliott, 2019).  

References  

Reddy, L., Glover, T., Kurz, A., and Elliott, S., (2019) Assessing the Effectiveness and Interactions of Instructional Coaches: Initial Psychometric Evidence for the Instructional Coaching Assessments–Teacher Forms. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1534508418771739 

Kelly, M., and Knight, J.(2019). Seven Success Factors for Great Instructional Coaching. Instructional Coaching Group. https://www.instructionalcoaching.com/seven-success-factors-for-great-instructional-coaching/