Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't lose it! Your turn for input

OK, so let's not let this idea go. Have any of you done any peer teaming so far? If so, please share. What are some goals we should have for this program? If you are not participating or thinking about participating, what is stopping you? What would you like to get out of it? What can you put into it? We have such a talented team of teachers and we can help and learn from each other. There is no more relevant experience than that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

School year, let's go!

OK, so now what?  Well, so far we have the following people in this:  Adam Beard, Monte Britton, Teresa Ferguson, Mary Headrick, Denise Johnson, Jennifer Sticker and Robin Townson.  We have addressed the staff briefly and invited any interested party to explore this concept of what we are calling "Peer Teaming" with us.  There is also information and there are articles on the internet if you search for "peer coaching" to give you more insight.  Remember, this is a great opportunity to work in teams and have another set of "eyes" for the things you are working on for yourself.  There are many professional growth benefits, as well as collaboration and comraderie.  It is flexible in the implementation.  The book is How to Plan and Implement a Peer Coaching Program by Pam Robbins.  Consider reading it and exploring the concept!  The next time, I will ask you to consider some goals for this program this year and make suggestions, so be thinking about that.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Conferencing strategies

Robbins suggests six principles for successful conferencing in the peer coaching process. I like his quote from Little that says that discussing the observed teaching is like "unravelling a mystery together, not monitoring each other." He states that it is important to not put the inviting teacher's sense of competence or self-esteem at stake. We will have to stress that to new joiners of this process as we go. The principals that help to separate the practice from the person include three technical and three social principals.

The technical ones are:
1. Common language
2. Focus
3. Hard evidence

 The social principles are:
1. Interaction
2. Predictability
3. Reciprocity

 Three goals of conferencing are trust, learning, and autonomy. On pages 38-42, Robbins gives approaches to pre-conferencing, observing, and post conferencing by way of cognitive coaching (as a means to achieving these goals). We need to look over these as they are summed up in the charts in the book and we can us these as a road map to successful peer coaching. Which of the six principals do you think is the easiest, or most natural? Which do you think is the most difficult? What are some important things that jump out for you that should be emphasized to peer coaching participants when it comes to conferencing?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Logistics and Focus

Some comments so far have addressed the importance of trust amongst colleagues in order to make this process work and getting over the feeling of being “evaluated” just because some other adult is in your room observing.  Very legitimate and common concerns, according to the book.  Chapter 4 addresses logistics and making the process happen, which we have discussed some.  Chapter 5 addresses deciding on a focus.  A good idea that is mentioned is to start with something with which the person doing the inviting is pretty confident.  Also important to note is that the person will be more committed to a goal he or she has formulated rather than one formulated by someone else.  The coach should simply just ask “What do you want to know?” or “What am I looking for?”  It must be very clear for both parties to get an accurate record that will help the inviting teacher.   We are planning on meeting to discuss the logistic ideas such as how we will pre-conference, observe and post conference and develop some common understanding on these during in-service week.  What ideas do you have already on this?  What I mean by this is what are some good general guidelines for coaches and inviters as far as these things are concerned?  Also, what ideas do you have or ways do you like for focusing an observation?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rationale and Questions

The rationale for peer coaching consists of seven reasons, or needs.  They are:


Ø  Reduce isolation among teachers
Ø  Build collaborative norms to enable teachers to give and receive ideas and assistance
Ø  Create a forum for addressing instructional problems
Ø  Share successful practices
Ø  Transfer training from the workshop to the workplace
Ø Promote the teacher as researcher
Ø  Encourage reflective practice

Which of these particularly catches your attention as important?  What questions do you or do you think others have about peer coaching before embracing the concept?  Include possible answers or not. 

Monday, July 2, 2012


Chapter 1 defines peer coaching as “a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace.”  Let’s go with the suggestion at the beginning of Chapter 1:  In the best of all possible worlds, what would you want peer coaching to look like, sound like and feel like at Meridianville Middle School?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Introductory Thoughts

The quote from Glickman in the Introduction was "The theory of professional empowerment is that when given collective responsibility to make educational decisions in an information-rich environment, educators will work harder and smarter on behalf of their clients: students and parents."  Let's hear comments on "professional empowerment" and "collective responsibility".  What are your perceptions of what these terms mean and what are attitudes toward them?