“Coaching seems to be the right term to use for this supportive work with teachers, especially if we think about the definition of a coach as an individual who provides guidance and feedback that enables someone else to become more proficient,” Bean and Goatley (2021). Reading Specialists are often asked to coach teachers and other professionals. There are two schools of thought in the realm of Literacy Coaching as presented by Bean and Goatley (2021) and Rodgers & Rodgers, (2007). Bean and Goatley (2021), identifies Interactive Framework for Instruction Coaching whereas Rodgers & Rodgers, (2007) discuss Guiding Inquiry. How do these two approaches compare to each other? In this paper, I will discuss if these two approaches affect my own Teacher Leadership Project.
Bean and Goatley (2021) identify Interactive Framework for Instruction Coaching. This consists of three important components: The coaching model, the context, and the coach. This process relies on many different aspects of each component. How much experience does the coach have, what coaching model is the school using, and in what context is the coaching occurring?
Rodgers & Rodgers (2007), discuss guiding inquiry as a coaching approach. The coaching is based on asking questions or investigation. In this approach, teachers learn how to change and evolve their teaching practices though asking questions and exploring their own skills. According to Rodgers & Rodgers (2007), change cannot be mandated. There are times when certain things are mandated, such as government policies and reforms, but changing how someone teaches needs to come from within.
“In Fullan’s reasoning, simple changes such as using new, updated forms or revising the dates for ongoing monitoring of student progress probably can be mandated without too much trouble, but changes to how and what we teach are much more complex and likely to fall if simply mandated,” Rodgers & Rodgers, (2007). Changes such as these, need to come from within. It is difficult to get seasoned teachers to accept change. This is one of the reasons why Guiding inquiry is used in these cases. When the teachers lead the change and are invested in it, their ideas will have a better chance of being accepted.
In my experience as an English Teacher, the only person who was involved in the coaching aspect was our curriculum specialist. She would observe us teaching 3 times a year. Then then we would meet with her to discuss the areas we performed well and areas we needed to improve on. These 3 observations are required by the State of New Jersey, but an individual teacher could request more observations if they wanted. I did this my first few years of teaching. I knew I needed more help and that I could become a better, more effective, teacher. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear the negative, but we need to be able to put that aside so we can grow as a teacher and reach our students.
The Interactive Framework for Instruction Coaching breaks down how coaching is done. Whereas guided inquiry is a coaching model. There are many other coaching models that schools can choose from. My school uses the guided inquiry method.
Recently at my school we implemented Professional Learning Communities. All teachers are in PLC and each group gets to decide what they want to present. This follows the Guided Inquiry model as the teachers are deciding, asking questions, and researching. The issue I see in this is that some things that need to be addressed are not being addressed because the teachers decide what gets explored. Instead of the teachers coming up with a list of things to discuss, this should be open to everyone who works with students such as classroom aides, personal aides, therapist and Reading Specialist.
Bean, R. M., Goatley, V.J. (2021). The Literacy Specialist. Leadership and coaching for the classroom, school, and community. 4th ed (374 pgs) Guildford Press.
Rodgers, A., & Rodgers, E. M. (2007). The Effective Literacy Coach: Using Inquiry to Support Teaching and Learning. Teachers College, Columbia University.