Coaching to enhance learning

The work at St Luke’s prioritises student faith formation, wellbeing, general capabilities, literacy, numeracy, Key Learning Areas (KLAs) and an understanding how technology can accelerate and amplify such priorities. These priorities are reflected in our Professional Learning Meetings (PLMs) once a week, professional development offered by Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP), other external professional development providers, self directed learning, reflecting on data, and action research opportunities with local universities.

That being said, in 2021, there is a need to bring a more cohesive approach to our work with greater precision and alignment of the work of coaches. In fact, the priorities of the work become the priority of coaching so as to develop the capacity and capabilities of teachers to positively impact student learning. It looks like this…

Image developed by St Luke’s staff and produced by Elisa Pettenon

Our theory of action is that coaches lead learning to enable and enhance collective teacher efficacy so that students learn, grow and develop.

Professional Learning and Coaching

At St Luke’s, time is dedicated to professional learning meetings (PLMs) each Wednesday. This comprises a mix of Community PLMs (K-10), approximately 3 times per term, and School-based PLMs (K-4) and (5-10), approximately 6 times per term. In addition to this, various leaders have an allocation of ‘coaching time’, a time where they work with teachers individually, and in teams to co-plan, co-teach and co-evaluate learning in a priority area outline above. In 2021, there will be two key actions which further embed these priorities; they are, Learning Walks and Coaching Walks.

  • Learning Walks will be led by the relevant coach in the presence of the assistant principal. and are one way of monitoring the effectiveness of a school-wide learning priorities. As such, Learning Walks are as much about the work the school has been doing as they are about the work of the teacher. The learning walk fosters a conversation about learning and provides feedback about teaching that impacts on student learning and aligns with a shared vision. Participants which include senior leaders and peer coaches who provide feedback to teachers about their practice.
  • Coaching Walks and Conversations will be hosted by the principal, occur once a year, and act as ‘a check in’ with a coach in the context of their work with a teacher whom they are coaching. The Coaching Walk fosters an opportunity for the principal to hear from coaches about how they have applied the practice of coaching when working with teachers to enhance their practice and impact on student learning. Coaches will have the opportunity to articulate the clear alignment between student need, teacher need and school priorities. Coaching walks and conversations provide an opportunity to share the granular work of coaches to highlight the impact of student data as aligned with our whole school priorities.

Along with Learning Walks and Coaching Walks and Conversations, there will be other opportunities for teachers to develop their craft. They include:

  • Planned release time for Inquiry Leaders of Religious Education to assist teachers to develop their knowledge of the new RE curriculum.
  • Planned release time for the Diversity Leader and members of the Diversity Team to enhance each teacher’s ability to plan for learning adjustments, enhancing differentiation.
  • Planned release time for the General Capabilities Coordinator to enhance each teacher’s knowledge of how to plan for the teaching, assessment and tracking of the General Capabilities as expressed through our 6 Pillars of Learning.
  • The offer once a year for teachers to engage in a Peer Observation and view a colleague in another learning space/stage or school. Release will be provided when the purpose of a peer observation is validated by Coach and Assistant Principal and then supported by the Principal. For example, it might make sense for K-2/4 teachers to see a Reading Recovery or EMU session. It might be useful for a Stage 4 teacher to view the delivery of a high yield literacy strategy as delivered in Stage 3.

Conclusion

Overall, a far more planned and precise approach to professional learning and coaching will enable a closer alignment of work between teacher, coach/leader and principal to positively impact student learning. There will be many benefits including:

Overall, a far more planned and precise approach to professional learning and coaching support will enable a closer alignment of work between teacher, coach, leader and principal to positively impact student learning with many benefits including:

  • fair and equitable opportunities for teachers to access coaching support and professional development opportunities.
  • opportunities for teachers to reflect and self assess by learning the work as they do the work.
  • each teacher knowing their strengths and ‘next steps’ for further development.
  • triangulating the work of teacher, coach and senior leader and the impact on student learning.
  • an increased shared understanding of the work.
  • greater knowledge and evidence of the impact of coaching.
  • even greater relational trust between teacher, coach, senior leader and principal.

We, at St Luke’s have a plan for coaching to enhance learning, both for teacher learning and student learning. Now, we just have to refine it and then implement it!

As always, comments are welcome.

Greg.

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