Last year I was asked by our deputy to be part of the Microsoft Peer Coaching training implementation at our school. to be honest I really did not know much about the program and where it would take me. The way the program works is our deputy was trained to be a facilitator through the Microsoft partners in learning and then she came back and trained us to be the peer coaches to then take on learning partners. The group was a diverse mix of teachers, head teachers and our TSO from most faculties around the school.
To understand what Peer Coaching is an excerpt from the Victorian education department ICT Peer coaching Manual www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/edulibrary/…/ICTpeercoaching_manual.doc .
This succinctly encapsulates the heart of Peer Coaching for me.
What is peer coaching?
Peer coaching is a process by which teachers work with one another to share expertise and provide feedback, support and assistance. The Peer Coach does not advise or tell. He or she asks questions and supports the coachee to find their own answers. Peer coaching is not mentoring.
- provides job-embedded professional feedback and support
- promotes active learning by offering teachers opportunities to become involved in meaningful discussion and planning, observe other teachers, be observed, and receive feedback
- offers teachers opportunities to link the ideas learned in professional learning sessions to their teaching context
- is a collaborative partnership between peer coach and coachee and not a mentor-novice relationship.
While we were doing our training to be Peer Coaches each member of the team worked very well together. The more we learnt about the process the more excited we all became of the power and potential to improve the culture of professional learning at our school. By fostering learning partners from cross faculty we all hoped that the synergy we all shared in our group of coaches could spread accross the school.
The coaching cycle frames everything that the Peer Coach and learning partners do. The partnership can work through many coaching cycles. this is the the coaching cycle from http://helenotway.edublogs.org/2010/06/19/visit-from-les/.
Well how did the first year go? We all took a learning partner most within our own faculty and each coach and learning partner worked on different units of work depending on the needs of each learning partner. Most of us did not take a second learning partner from another faculty as we did get some release time but with the busy work life as a teacher most of us were not able to find the time in the first year. I am in my second year and now have taken two learning partners.
Peer Coaching has been a great success within our school. The relationships we have all forged have brought the initial group of Coaches closer together and some of the learning partners now have become Coaches this year. Peer coaching has had a profound effect on me and I hope it has on my learning partners also.
To read more link to the following posts I have written since this page.
Peer Coaching is about changing the school culture. I will leave you with this You tube video entitled the lone nut which I think shows how Peer Coaching can change school cultures.