Literacy Lines

The Keys to Literacy Blog

The Secret to Great Coaching

by Joan Sedita | 1 | 0 Comments

The June, 2014 issue of JSD : The Learning Forward Journal had a good article about coaching written by Les Foltos: The Secret to Great Coaching – Inquiry Method Helps Teachers Take Ownership of Their Learning.

The article addresses school coaches in general, but I think its message is important to literacy coaches, including educators who are trained to be building coaches for Keys to Literacy professional development programs.

Foltos starts the piece with a common question raised by new coaches: When can I share my experience and expertise with teachers I am coaching to help them improve?  He answers this way, “Successful coaches realize that routinely taking on the role of the expert with the answers is the wrong path toward collaboration and capacity building.” Rather than telling teachers what and how they should teach, Foltos recommends using inquiry as a means of collaborating with teachers to facilitate their learning in a way that makes the teacher take ownership and control of changes in their instructional practices. Inquiry means using probing questions to get teachers to think more deeply about their practice.

Hasbrouck and Denton (2005) suggest a similar approach to the coach as a collaborative guide in their book The Reading Coach. Even though it is almost 10 years old, I recommend it as an excellent resource for literacy coaches. I have included below some of the slides we use in our building coach trainings for Keys to Literacy programs. They reference Hasbrouck and Denton.

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Foltos, L. (2014). The secret to great coaching. JSD: The Learning Forward Journal,  35, no. 3.
Hasbrouck, J., & Denton, C. (2005). The reading coach. Longmont CO: Sopris West.

Joan Sedita

Joan Sedita is the founder of Keys to Literacy and author of the Keys to Literacy professional development programs. She is an experienced educator, nationally recognized speaker and teacher trainer. She has worked for over 35 years in the literacy education field and has presented to thousands of teachers and related professionals at schools, colleges, clinics, and professional conferences.

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