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The Teacher Tip

Methods for Teacher Coaching

March 2, 2018

Adapted from Reclaiming the Principalship by Tom Marshall.

There are many valuable teaching methods we use during instruction such as demonstration, direct instruction, guided practice, and partner work. In the same way, there are also a variety of methods we use when coaching teachers. Here are a few methods of coaching that take place in the study group format of teacher coaching:

Reel to Real. This is a great study group method for groups of teachers. Watch a professional video that can be viewed from various lenses. For example, when watching the video of a teacher conferring with one student, one lens might be to study the questions the teacher asks, another might be to watch how the body language of the student changes, and a third might be to notice how the teacher scaffolds or supports the student in trying out the new skill. Assign a lens of watching the video to each group of teachers, then have them discuss what they saw from that lens. You can then have each group share with the entire group. This approach works with professional texts also.

Graffiti Wall. A graffiti wall can be a great place to share new ideas and to spark important discussions. Place four or five large pieces of chart paper around the room with preprinted statements or questions related to a certain topic. Have teachers walk around and comment on each thought with a marker. After a few minutes, ask them to go around again and comment on other people’s comments. If there are enough teachers and if there is enough time, ask teachers to gravitate around their favorite sheet and have a discussion. Then use the comments to springboard a whole-group discussion.

Teaching Artifacts. To invite reflection at the end of a cycle of coaching, ask teachers to bring an artifact that is a metaphor for what they’ve learned during their work with you in the last few weeks. Often, the sillier the metaphor, the better!

To learn more about Reclaiming the Principalship, visit

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