This month’s Coaching in Action blog defines student-centered coaching and provides examples of how one HMH coach institutes this approach in READ 180 and System 44 classrooms.
I’ve had a lot of experience working with students and education professionals as a former READ 180 teacher, a national board-certified teacher, and an HMH Services consultant. Extensive learning about student-centered coaching by Diane Sweeney helped me identify instructional coaching to develop teacher leaders.
We institute a student-centered approach to coaching and incorporate a specific coaching protocol. Student-centered coaching keeps student work at the center of each coaching session. When partnering with a school or school district, the coaching cycle typically includes meeting with each teacher once a month over the course of the school year. Each month, we start by looking at last month’s goals to see how students have progressed.
Ongoing communication with a school-based coach or administrator can further strengthen the coaching that we as consultants provide. A student-centered coaching model increases student achievement—coaches explain or model components of the rotational model for READ 180 and System 44, analyze data and formulate student-centered goals for future instruction with the classroom teacher, and empower school coaches to successfully sustain the coaching cycle. We strive to build a greater understanding of the wide array of resources available to the teacher to meet their students’ individual needs.
Examples of How to Develop a More Student-Centered Approach to Coaching
When we partnered with a Florida school district, one of the teachers I worked with said all of her System 44 students moved to the U.S. from other nations, primarily Haiti, Guatemala, and Cuba. None of these students knew how to speak English. At the start of the school year, we quickly realized that the System 44 student workbook, beginning at Module 1, was too advanced for her students. We knew her students needed more foundational work with phonics.
During our coaching sessions, I showed the teacher the Resources for Differentiated Instruction (RDI) lessons, along with other Student Achievement Manager (SAM) Resources, and I explained how phonics lessons can be targeted in her small-group instruction. The shift to more differentiated instruction led to a successful year for the teacher and her students.
An example of modeling during the coaching partnership occurred when I was working with a READ 180 elementary teacher. During other coaching sessions, we looked at independent reading data. We wanted to see students develop skills to succeed at reading on grade level as measured by quizzes. Therefore, I suggested the use of eReads, which are texts that relate directly to what a student is working on in the READ 180 software, provide additional background knowledge, and boost their vocabulary.
I modeled how to access eReads during small-group instruction and how to utilize eReads to challenge the students as readers. This approach enabled the students to read informational texts above their reading level and successfully pass their independent reading quizzes! The teacher told me that this coaching process was essential to helping her develop as a READ 180 teacher. It let her further cater to students’ needs in her small-group lessons.
Tracking Students’ Progress
During a subsequent coaching session, we reviewed the teacher’s classroom software data and noticed that students didn’t have very many READ 180 segments completed. We knew they could improve but we needed a way to track student progress, and I suggested using an incentive chart to do just that! The teacher said her students loved putting stickers on the chart after completing each segment and competing to see who earned the most. This method proved effective, and the students seemed to enjoy participating.
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