Thursday, November 5, 2015

Post Conference

Modeling, observation and feedback are essential elements for learning and we see this with our students.  This is why this process also works for teachers. Many teachers who have been a part of Jim Knight's work in Topeka comment that coaches who modeled have helped them "teach with fidelity to research-based practices, increased their confidence about new practices, made it easier to implement new practices, and provided an opportunity for them to learn other teaching practices," (2007, Instructional Coaching).

Last week I modeled in the 4th grade classroom for four days, while the three 4th grade teachers observed.  They wanted to see what introducing literature discussion groups looked like. I tweaked a unit I had used as a classroom teacher, based on what I had learned about best practice in literature discussion groups.  I blogged a bit about it in this post.

Post-conferencing is a crucial part of the modeling/coaching process and it is necessary to schedule this.  If I do not set this time aside, I find I rarely get back to those teachers to reflect on the learning that took place.  It is also a time for me to learn from the teachers whom I am working with.  I expect to hear things they liked, didn't like or things that were unclear.  

During our monthly common planning time, I asked the fourth grade team to reflect on the modeling and learning that took place.  I use this form to guide me.  I got this form off of Jim Knight's website and I found it applied perfectly to this situation.

From our discussion the teachers noted that:

  •  It was great to see their students being taught by another teacher.
  • They liked that they could get in and listen to their students as they were pair-sharing during the guided practice portion of the lesson.
  • The realized they need more student led discussions; less teacher talk.
  • They liked that their students could see videos of other literature discussion groups in action as a model prior to being asked to do it themselves.
It was great to get our post conference in and then to further our learning, as question on types of text, choice, and time were brought up. This was my first experience modeling for an entire grade level and it was a great experience. I am fortunate to work with a great team of teachers who are excited about learning and willing to take risks and try new things.

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