As many folks know, I am in the process of writing my fifth book!  It’s about instructional coaching…tentatively titled “How to Coach Teachers to Teach (Almost) Anything” – – – I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be published by Yale or anything, right?  ????

One of the things that I wanted to really drive home for coaches are the fundamental skills that teachers have to have in place.  So, I broke those fundamental skills down into five categories:

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Behavior Management
  3. Engagement
  4. Lesson Planning (the most often un-coached skills that is the starting point of a successful lesson)
  5. Delivery of a Basic Lesson (like the very least the teacher has to do to deliver a successful lesson)

In this series of five blogs, one on each of the topics, I have broken down those skills for you, too!

If you’re a teacher, you can use these as a checklist for lesson planning

If you are a professional developer, you can use this is a checklist for a new teacher (or veteren teacher) training program

If you are a principal, you can use this to help you set your instructional goal and as a tool to determine where you staff might need strengthening.

If you are a coach, you will use these lists to prioritize the content that you will coach.  If a teacher is struggling with any of these, then that struggling point is where your coaching should start.  After all, if a fundamental is missing, then the teacher doesn’t have much of a chance of getting the fancier stuff well implemented.

Here are the Student Engagement Priority Skills for Coaching

The teacher:

  • Teaches with a swift pace with a good mix of teacher talk and student action
  • Has written response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Has verbal response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Has physical response signals in place for the whole class and individuals
  • Does not rely on raised hands as an engagement tool
  • Uses engagement tools to have all students do the work during whole group, partner and independent work time
  • Walks around the room to monitor what is said, done and discussed during lessons
  • Uses engagement techniques to practice the most important content and does not allow the techniques to overshadow the content of the lesson
  • Explicitly teaches the difference between compliant engagement and true engagement through modeling
  • Requires students to use complete sentences and academic language as they are engaging with the content and their classmates
  • Uses engagement to correct content errors, require students to extend their responses and give high-quality academic feedback