Collaboration Coaching Overview

Collaboration Coaching is about 1) creating 21st century, student-centered classrooms to increase student achievement, 2) collaborating with colleagues.

Our Collaboration Coaches defined 21st century learning and what student-centered classrooms look/sound like on the Lino It sticky notes:

Collaboration Coaching gives us the training needed to help move towards 21st century, student-centered classrooms, and it gives us ongoing Professional Development needed to achieve it.

Peer Coaching/Collaboration Coaching main points

Here are a few key points from Les Foltos, the Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed, and the architect of the Peer Coaching program:

  • To change instructional practices we need ongoing collaborative professional development (PD), which is done by teachers, not to teachers.
  • Research shows that workshops change teacher practices 15% of the time, whereas ongoing PD changes teacher practices 85% of the time.
  • To adapt and adopt innovation we learn along side of a trusted colleague.
  • Trusted colleagues are good communicators and collaborators.
  • Collaboration Coaches are successful in their coaching when teachers are willing to share what they know, and willing to share what they don’t know.
  • Coaches need to know what strong and effective learning looks like… and, how to share that vision of effective learning with colleagues.
  • Strong and effective learning is rigorous, engaging, uses creative and critical thinking, and connects to the real world.
  • We must balance advocating for this vision with inquiring into this vision.
  • Developing conversations that dig into inquiry is done through wows and wonders and through communication skills (paraphrase/question).
  • Focus on student learning, rather than teacher teaching.
  • It takes time to change. Having quick wins prepares them to embrace & adopt the vision… and Collaboration Coaches help with that.
  • Collaboration Coaches do not “fix” anyone. They are also not experts, but they are Collaboration Coaches. Collaboration Coaches continue the conversation for reflection and digging deeper. They also bring people together to create a learning community focused on 21st century, student-centered classrooms.
Here’s Les Foltos’ TEDx Talk about Peer Coaching and 21st Century Teacher Skills:
If you don’t have 16 minutes to watch Les Foltos on TEDx (above), then perhaps you would watch a variation of his message on this link here.
Engaging our students in rigorous and relevant learning

The Learning Activity Checklist helps with creating 21st century, student-centered classrooms to increase student achievement.

Here is the Learning Activity Checklist that helps create and reflect on student learning tasks. The four quadrants needed to develop a rigorous and engaging task are 1) standards-based task, 2) engaging task, 3) problem-based task (critical thinking/essential questions), and 4) technology that enhances student achievement. The idea is to have all four quadrants represented in the lesson task, which does not mean that every bullet point be present in the task.

Collaboration Meetings

Having Collaboration Meetings gives learning communities an opportunity to continue their reflection and conversations. While one of the guiding questions will be based on staff development at your school, you may add other guiding questions based on your Collaboration Community Plan or the needs of your learning community.

Here’s a video showing how the log could be filled out:

The Collaboration Coach will share the log with:

  1. his/her learning community
  2. his/her principal, Common Core Coach, Tracy Watanabe, Theresa Bartholomew, and Heidi Golemon

The reason why these logs are being shared with so many people is for more eyes to view the success teams are having, and to look for trends of professional development needs; therefore allowing us to build in professional development that meets the needs of the staff.

Expectations of Principals

Principals have a role in building collaboration learning communities. A few things that Principals can do to help are:

  1. Share with the staff the vision of Collaboration Learning Communities.
  2. Briefly meet with the Collaboration Coaches once a month.
  3. Principals choose the topic of discussion for the collaboration learning communities to focus on based on the professional development at their site. In the video above, the topic of discussion is, “How does using Bloom’s Taxonomy (and DOK) help with asking deeper questions?”
  4. Look for celebrations and trends in the Data and Collaboration Logs. When professional development (PD) is needed, Principals tap into other professionals such as Education Services, the Common Core Coach, the Technology Integration Specialist, etc. They decide if the PD is needed at their Learning Community Meeting time or if others would benefit. If others would benefit, they’d provide PD time at a staff meeting or a Teacher In-Service half day.

Concluding thoughts

To wrap up our Collaboration Coach discussion, here are some questions we’d like to hear your thoughts on:

1. Connections: What connections do you draw between what was discussed in this post about Collaboration Coaching, and your own experience with Collaboration Coaching or what you predicted Collaboration Coaching would be?

2. Challenge: What ideas, positions, or assumptions do you want to challenge or argue with regarding discussions around Collaboration Coaching?

3. Concepts: What key concepts or ideas do you think are important and worth holding on to regarding Collaboration Coaching?

4. Changes: What changes in attitudes, thinking, or action are suggested in this post, either for you or others?

Note: These four questions were adapted from The 4 C’s, out of Making Thinking Visible.

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One thought on “Collaboration Coaching Overview

  1. Connections: My thought about connections with Collaboration Coaching is communicating ideas and using technology as a tool to help teachers, as well as our students look at things in a way that would impact our way of thinking.
    Challenge: My challenge is getting my team to a place where they can explore the vast ideas that 21st learning has to offer. I want to be able to invest my time working conjointly with my team to plan, diagnose and carry out actions that is going to solve our problems. Resulting ( I hope) in our greater commitment to the process of change and stronger ownership of those results.
    Concepts: The key concepts that I believe that is important is creating an integrated set of values and or norms and building on the initial beliefs and expectations of both. Negotiating an approach where collaboration occurs, I believe is the process of uncovering and integrating those differences. This is important.
    Changes: “Attitude is Contagious”

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