Do you remember that Ron Popeil infomercial from a long time ago?  He demonstrated how you could put a chicken in this contraption that sat on your countertop and just “Set it and forget it?”

Well…ol’ Ron Popeil and his chicken contraption were wrong.

The reality in our curriculum and instruction world?  I see us throwing away valuable training, time and relationship away because we haven’t done a very simple button-up.  And we pay the ultimate price for it: wasting time.

So here’s my simple answer when I’m asked: What do I do when a teacher has been coached in a skill and yet when I get back into the classroom, they’ve stopped using the skill?

I think that sometimes coaches take this personally – after all, everyone has put a lot of time in effort in coaching and learning a new/updated skill!  But, I find that when I ask myself these three questions, I can usually get to the root of why that’s happened…and, more importantly, I can fix it with the teacher:

  1. Did I break the steps of the skill down to the –nth degree or was the skills we were working on really like five skills rolled up into one?
  2. Did the teacher understand what I wanted him to do? (And a nod of the head isn’t a confirmation…the teacher should be able to fully explain what you want him to do in his own words – make sure to weave this into your debriefing each time!)
  3. Did the teacher simply forget to keep doing it and do we need to add some sort of note on his desk or in his lesson plan book so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle any longer? (Teachers have lots to remember and can simply forget. It happens to all of us!)

These three questions are the antidote to forgetting a coached skill or falling back into old practice.  And they really help to get the coaching and teaching back on track.

The most important thing is to avoid going straight to the line of the thinking that the teacher is stopping the practice on purpose.  By digging just a bit deeper through the questions, you’ll find an even more efficient way to work with a teacher…and it doesn’t have to affect your relationship one bit!

What do you think?  How might this info help your instructional coaching team?

If you liked this blog post, then I bet you’d like this!