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Helping Teachers Play to Their Strengths

As an instructional coach, I give teachers feedback that falls into two categories: effective practices and enhancements. And often a teacher's effective practices are a great starting point for talking about enhancements. This is because many teachers are inconsistent with their effective practices. Sometimes, for example, a teacher may earn students' cooperation by using proximity to redirect their behavior. But at other times students' behavior persists because the teacher singles them out from across the room.

This is why my first coaching session with a teacher involves identifying and reinforcing effective practices. The goal is to ensure that teachers are conscious of and consistent with whatever they're already doing well. Coaching isn't about fixing teachers. It's about supporting teachers, which includes helping them play to their strengths.

But teachers can't play to their strengths unless they're aware of their strengths. In this short video, I help a teacher see the positive effect her interactive style had on a few students, thus setting the stage for us to collaborate (later in the same conference) on classroom changes that would enable her to use this style with all students.

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