Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Collaborative Coaching Murmerations

Six years ago, our school district introduced a Peer Coaching program (based off the work of @lfoltos). At the time, the district was beginning a systematic approach to becoming a 1-to-1 learning community. Having teachers trained in the art of coaching collaboratively in an effort to integrate technology into daily instruction was, and still is, crucial.

I was in the first batch of teachers who were trained to be a Peer Collaboration Coach. Through the years, as teachers have become more and more comfortable with using technology and working collaboratively with one another, the effort that was once required, is second nature to many. 

We've had some leadership changes in the last year and now I'm the one working with our Technology Director (@jcastelhano) to facilitate the wonderful group of educators who are designated as Collaboration Coaches. And for the very first time, we had the opportunity to get all 40 of us in the same room. Teachers of Kindergartners to high school chemistry all met to share the best of what we know about collaborating with our peers.

I had three major goals for our time together:
  • to recall the roles that a coach plays with his/her peers
  • to connect with coaches from other sites
  • to gather resources to use as a coach
To make this happen, I decided that it would be fun to have a Speed Dating session for coaches to share their ideas. I found my idea HERE. I provided the teachers with discussion prompts to get the dialog flowing. 
  • What resources have you utilized while coaching or collaborating with others?
  • What does successful collaboration look like? How does it make you feel?
  • Tell of a successful coaching experience. To what do you attribute the success?
  • What are the two most important skills needed to coach or collaborate successfully?
  • Are you looking to collaborate with someone on something? Describe your dream project.
I'm sure that teachers would have appreciated more than the three minutes I allotted for a conversation before they had to move on to their next "date". It was pretty exciting to hear these teachers share their thinking. 

Photo by @BethanyLigon (2015)
Photo by @jcastelhano (2015)

Once the Speed Dating session had ended, I encouraged the group to send an email or two to the teachers who had an impact on their thinking - I referred to this a "second date". I look forward to seeing the fruit of these conversations in the near future.

Photo by @jcastelhano (2015)

To close our time together I chose to show THIS VIDEO of starlings creating beautiful formations. According to THIS ARTICLE, starlings' movements are usually in response to predators or other stimuli in the immediate environment. The birds communicate most closely with the seven birds around them, but can respond to other individuals across the flock. And contrary to popular belief, there isn't a single leader in the group. 

To me, this is what collaboration coaching is all about. We aren't experts - we realize that we have various strengths and weaknesses and we are dependent upon one another. This is why it is so important that we are in very close communication with one another, assisting the whole group to respond to needs in our school environment. The conversations that we have where we reflect and plan and strategize are like the starlings' mezmerizing murmerations - we shift and adapt and hopefully at the end of the day, make learning a beautiful experience to be a part of.  

Offering my BEST to you,

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