We started reading Cognitive Coaching together
We handed out our "Thinking Through a Lesson" template for use
We came back together for our second bi-weekly meeting after they had done all of the above. We built the agenda and action items for that meeting together and I just recorded it after-the-fact for a public record (I'm attaching that below). Basically, the things that people wanted to discuss and/or explore moving forward were:
1. They seemed intrigued by the Cognitive Coaching reading and were making some connections to the way we had framed their early observations in their colleagues' classrooms. They wanted to practice doing a full observation cycle (since we didn't include a debrief in the Action Items of the previous weeks) and to "dig in" a bit more on how to do that well. We have one Teacher Partner who is going to record one of her debriefs and bring it in with a focus question for group analysis next time.
2. They recognized that the goal of the program was not for them to be the coach, but for their whole team to learn with and from one another. So, they wanted to get teachers at their sites out into other classrooms. One concern they had was how to frame these observations so that teachers were observing one another in ways that were both productive and non-threatening. They liked that we had centered their observations on the goal of the observed teacher, so they decided to do something similar and to discuss that with their whole team prior to observing.
3. There was a recognition that facilitating lesson planning was a challenge. We didn't get to talk about that as much as we would have liked, but it is on the table for future meetings. They agreed to think a bit more about their facilitation this time around and bring ideas and challenges.
4. One of our sites is doing some cool things experimenting with using video as a tool for reflection. I imagine that as the collaborative structure takes hold, more sites would be interested in doing something similar.
They liked the idea of reading "Rethinking Classroom Observation" with their team prior to peer-to-peer observation
So, that is where we are so far. Briefly, a few challenges and/or noticings as I've been around our schools:
1. Their usage (or not) of the "Thinking Through a Lesson" template has been interesting to me. In some places, the group didn't use it at all. In others, they used it but in a very cursory fashion. In another, they used it and it sparked great conversation but it felt very foreign/external to them. None of these are reasons to (re)act yet, I don't think....but I will be curious to see how that develops and what they have to say as they continue to work on facilitating collaborative lesson planning.
2. For the most part, teachers seem excited about the opportunity to collaborate and learn together. However, there has been small pockets of resistance or trepidation.
3. In general, their time together as a group seems to move back and forth between conversations that are focused on teaching practice and conversations that are focused on other concerns (pacing of their curriculum, concerns about grading, etc.)