Establishing Adult Learning Communities

How can we distribute facilitative leadership to create teacher-driven schools?

Collegial Coaching at HTHNC

High Tech High North County has been implementing the use of Collegial Coaching to help create a more teacher-driven school.  Jenny Pierrat, a teacher leader at HTHNC has recently helped develop our Collegial Coaching program.  We started with an introductory meeting led by Jenny.  To start the meeting, she asked that we all come to the meeting with:

-A “Fierce Wondering” about our practice

-Sub-questions that fall under our “Fierce Wondering” that pertain to a

specific lesson

-A lesson that we planned to video/have observed

-Suggested days to debrief with our critical friend

As a staff, we designated some morning meeting times to meet with our critical friend for our pre-visit discussion.  Although, I am not currently teaching in a classroom, I was able to watch a video of one of my colleagues, Anna Petrick. We checked in on what the lesson would entail.  The lesson included students exporting videos and uploading to Ning.  During the initial meeting, we also discussed the “Fierce Wondering” which was, “As a multimedia teacher, who often uses step by step visual instruction, how can I create more independent learners using an alternate approach to instruction?” Some sub questions that Anna had were:

1. Do I give too much direct instruction?

2. When I am walking around helping students, do I give the solutions too quickly?

3. Are students too dependent on me for answers?  Have I perpetuated this dependency?

4. Can I direct students to where they can find the answers?”

I really enjoyed the process of debriefing the video and having a chance to tell Anna what I saw her doing well.  Collegial Coaching also offers a safe space to give constructive feedback if need be.  In our debrief, we focused mainly on her questions and fierce wonderings.  My hope is that watching ourselves teach and discussing specific aspects of our lesson, we become more reflective practitioners as well as building stronger relationships with our peers. 

Reflections on Collegial Coaching from our staff:

    -Guided question:  Write three "best practices that you observed in your Collegial Coaching experience."

  • "A good practice that I observed is to do a lesson plan and then bring it back around at the end to create closure."
  • "I saw inquiry based teaching in Math/Chemistry which made the lesson more authentic."
  • "Displaying beautiful math work, showing step by step problems."
  • "A number of teachers have been doing conferencing during their lessons.  Students will have a chance to have work time and teachers will do a check in with individual students."
  • "We saw full integration of subjects in the classroom."  
  • "Student centered classrooms."
  • "High teacher expectations."
  • "Teachers pulled in peers to observe and critique lessons."
  • "Breaking down rigorous material in to steps so that the work is more attainable for all students."

    -Guided question:  What went well and what would we change?
  • "Appreciated the structure of meetings being set during the school meeting time."
  • "The process of video was very powerful.  It was interesting to see some students from a different perspective."
  • "Loved being able to show off what we were doing in the classroom."
  • "Enjoyed looking at the video with the teacher because it helped both the viewer and the observer."
  • "I appreciate that we are being asked to do it because it forces us to make time for it."
  • "Appreciated being able to have structured time with our mentor."
  • "It would be interesting to do some observations across disciplines."
  • "Give a week wait time for reflection of the video before the debrief with your collegial coach."
  • "Watching the video did not seems to help with answering the essential question, but helped more with observing what is going on with classroom management.  Doing an observation in addition to to the video protocol would be helpful."
  • "It was a challenge, but it was beneficial and we want to do it again in the spring.  We will offer a second observation as a challenge option."
Attached Artifacts:
Video Tuning Protocol
Activities for Collegial Coaching

Other ways to distribute facilitative leadership amongst staff:

  • Distribute roles in weekly staff meetings

  • Assign leadership roles in study group, subject area, grade level, staff days and staff retreats

  • Be open to change

  • Listen to everyone's voice

  • Set up norms for making decisions

Other attached tools to distribute leadership amongst staff:
Staff Meeting Agenda
Shani Leader,
Nov 18, 2009, 7:45 AM
Shani Leader,
Nov 18, 2009, 12:51 PM
Shani Leader,
Nov 18, 2009, 7:44 PM