I have wanted to attend this annual conference for a while, but hesitated due to the expense. The US-based conference is aimed at helping teachers teach for proficiency using CI-based strategies (See iFLT for more details). When Bu Cathy expressed an interest in going as well, I decided that 2018 was going to be the year for iFLT. I was more than ready!
Coaching for Coaches
Encouraged by Bu Cathy, I decided to also attend the Coaching for Coaches workshop held on the Monday before the main 4 day conference. I am so glad I did! It was a small group, so we had a chance to take the roles of coach, teacher, student and observer. What a great way to encourage and nuture up-coming CI teachers! I loved the quote one of the presenters (Michelle Kindt and Terri Wiechart) showed us “Comparison is the thief of joy” (Theodore Roosevelt). A great reminder not to compare ourselves with other teachers, we all have our own style of teaching and we are all great! I also loved “People who aren’t smiling are the ones who need a smile the most”, a reminder that CI teaching is not only teaching to the eyes, but teaching to the heart.
CARDINAL RULES OF COACHING (to be added)
- The teacher must feel safe
- Discussion must be carefully directed by the coach
- The focus is on the skill, not the language
- The experience must empower the teacher
These are the steps we followed while we were coaching:
- Go through the rules with the participants
- Set up chairs and positions for students, observers, teacher and coach.
- Explain to the teacher how the activity works, asking them about the age group and experience of the ‘students’ and the skill they are wanting to focus on.
- Give them time to write up language structures on the whiteboard while you as coach explain the roles of ‘students’ and ‘observers’.
- Ask the teacher how much time they want, and time them. Tell them they may stop at any time.
- Guide the discussion, asking the teacher, ‘students’ and ‘observers’ how the teacher made them feel part of the classroom community and how the teacher kept it comprehensible. Don’t forget to ‘feed forward’ and well as feed back! (How would you continue this lesson? Where would you go next with this?) If anyone gets off task, tell them, “We don’t have time!”