Penny from Virginia asks this question: I sometimes have difficulty getting teachers to reflect on their lessons when I’m debriefing them and it makes me insecure in my coaching. How do I know that I’m asking the right questions during coaching so that I’m making teachers feel comfortable and helping them reflect on the lesson?

My response: Penny – this is the age-old question about coaching – how do I know that I’m doing it ‘right?’ There is no such thing as coaching ‘right’, but there are ways that you can ensure that teachers are more likely to reflect on their teaching.

First of all, reflection begins with expectation. This means that I provide the teachers I’m coaching with three quick reflection questions BEFORE we begin the coaching and BEFORE I even go in to observe or demonstrate.

So, the conversation might sound something like this: Heather, I’m really excited for us to look at your small group instruction in fluency. Before we even get started, I want to let you know that this whole coaching thing is about an exchange of ideas between you and me and the success of our time together relies heavily on both of our reflection of the lessons. So, I’m going to let you know that the first three questions I will ask you are these:

1. What went as planned in the lesson?

2. What didn’t go as planned?

3. What would you keep and what would you do differently if you had a re-do?

Obviously the questions you ask the teacher to reflect on will vary based upon the outcome you’re hoping to get, but you get the idea. Sometimes I’m even really sneaky and I give a (not to excited to reflect) teacher an index card with those questions on it and ask them to jot down some ideas.

So, it’s less about the ‘right’ questions and more about the ‘right’ set-up that prompts reflection.

Keep the questions coming – share your comments in the section below…I really want to hear from you!