Purpose, goals, and objectives of the course
The overarching purpose of the proposed intervention is to resolve the problem of misinterpretation and impaired evaluation of instructional coaches’ performance, roles, and assigned duties by the shareholders of K-12 educational institutions. The issue is pressing not least because the opinions of the shareholders (i.e., district administrators, school leaders, and classroom teachers) demonstrate significant variance. The goal of the proposed intervention, therefore, is to educate the shareholders on the identified issue and change their perception of the roles and duties of instructional coaches.
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To reach this goal, a training program must be created. On the design and implementation stages, this program should meet the following process-oriented and methodological objectives:
- Identify the diversity of opinions and coaches’ performance perception on the shareholders’ part;
- Facilitate maximum involvement and interest in the subject via:
- Active utilization of technology, visual, and other supplementary learning materials;
- Encouraging open discussion and brainstorming the ideas with subsequent selection of the most significant points;
- Track and monitor whether and how the learners generate opinions that differ from their initial ones;
- Be compliant with the assessed needs of the shareholders and meet the specific requirements for:
- reaching a unified result in a group where opinions and dispositions diversify;
- flexibility necessary to involve shareholders of diverse occupations and activity timetables;
- instant feedback receipt for subsequent evaluation and analysis;
- Provide a comprehensive theoretical and methodological framework for educating the shareholders;
- Be well-developed and efficacy-tested.
Upon the needs assessment based on Kemp’s instructional design model, participatory learning can be deemed the most effective learning option (Morrison, Ross, & Kemp, 2012; Kulich, 2014). The proposed program will incorporate the elements of the participatory lecture and charrette workshop. The rationale for such choice is first that participatory learning per se allows for a better personal connection between the shareholders and the deliverer.
The latter will have a chance to discover the learners’ knowledge of the issue first-handedly. Secondly, participatory learning facilitates discussion in the course of which all the learners will be involved in the process. In addition, considering that the target audience is adults and into education themselves, participatory instruction will enable them to demonstrate what they already know. They will feel more at ease brainstorming and sharing their opinions when they have had a chance to work with their lecturer on an equal basis.
What is more, a participatory environment requires a smaller audience and more frequent meetings, which is, again, a facilitator of a friendly atmosphere. Considering the nature of the issue the shareholders are to be educated on, the environment is a factor of extreme significance (Larson, 2004). A smaller audience will have a chance to agree upon meeting times that will fit into their activity timetable, which is also important.
The proposed course will employ some features of charrette workshop meetings. In general, a charrette is a collaborative meeting wherein a group of stakeholders devises a solution for a problem (Todd, 2013). It is sufficient because it increases participation and may be used to resolve an ethical issue. A charrette, therefore, accounts for the maximum diversity of the participants’ skills and knowledge of the topic discussed.
It is specifically designed for the stakeholders to reach a consensus – which is important because K-12 teachers, principals, and administration can have various opinions and levels of experience concerning the roles of coaches. The features of charrettes employed in the proposed course include namely, brainstorming and sharing, participant-to-participant interviews and group discussions, producing a presentation upon the completion of the course, and providing constructive feedback after each workshop session.
Resources and technology
The underlying principle behind participatory learning is that of interactivity (Gan, 2014). A participatory lecture uses a variety of resources and employs diverse technological means to increase participation. Applied to the proposed course, demonstrative technology can include streaming videos and power-point slides (Kidd & Chen, 2009; Mor, Mellar, Warburton, & Winters, 2014).
As for other resources, the workshop, especially the brainstorming part, can include simple handicrafts, which will require writing and drawing equipment for the learners. Those who are comfortable with paper-and-pencil brainstorming can be given out these materials. Others can utilize their handheld devices (smartphones and tablets) to create ideational maps on the spot. Because the workshops are largely based on the principles and techniques of the charrette, other miscellaneous items will be included, for example, boxes for the learners to submit their evaluation forms, etc. The expenses on papers and other materials might require small entry fees from the shareholders who agree to participate.
Participatory workshop for teacher education
Knowledge and Skills
By the end of the workshop sessions, the K-12 shareholders will acknowledge the following:
- Instructional coaches have specific roles relational to their determined duties;
- Instructional coaches will perform only those duties in accordance with their clarified roles;
- Instructional coaches have to comply with what is expected of them.
The discussion topics for the workshops, therefore, will include:
- The foundations of coaching;
- The main principles of instructional coaching;
- The rationale for instructional coaching;
- The roles of coaches, namely:
- Training the educators and producing comprehensible lesson models;
- Administering and facilitating classroom walkthroughs;
- Providing the teaching staff with timely and constructive instructional feedback;
- Assessment and evaluation of student performance using their achievement data records;
- Discussing the student performance with the teaching staff and principals;
- Selecting appropriate math and literacy programs;
- Outsourcing and distribution of learning materials in accordance with these programs;
- Rendering some administrative services, specifically in case the principal is unavailable;
- Outcomes expected from instructional coaching, namely:
- Improved student performance through timely assessment and refinement of classroom instruction;
- An established environment of job-embedded professional and personal development for educators, principals, and administration;
- Educational goals met timely through the alignment of the shareholders’ (including teaching staff, principals, administrators, and other coaches) output;
- A strengthened leadership core and collaborative alliance with shareholders.
The workshops will be held in flexible sessions on dates adjusted for everybody’s convenience. The most optimal duration of the course is 2-5 workshops evenly distributed within a 2-3-month time frame. (Todd, 2013).
- On the pre-workshop stage:
- The project manager establishes a steering committee comprised of literacy and math coaches of K-12 communities;
- The committee identifies the group of 9-25 or more participants with diverse opinions on the instructional coaches’ roles;
- The committee identifies the agenda, the primary and secondary issues of concern, the scale, and the location of the meetings;
- The committee contacts the participants and sets the time frame and workshop schedule to their convenience. The participants are encouraged to spread the information about the course to attract whomever the issue might concern.
- The committee develops evaluation forms that the participants complete by the end of the course.
- During the workshop sessions:
- The steering committee meets the group and clear-cuts the purpose and goals of the course to set the tone of the meetings and develop collaborative relationships between the committee and the group;
- The committee communicates its interests to the group. Visual materials (e.g., slides, hand-outs, and videos illustrating the statistics and/or process of coaches fulfilling their duties) can be employed to acquaint the group with the topic.
- The committee divides the participants into groups and oversees them conducting discursive interviews to collect and later assess the opinions of the shareholders; an informal setting is effective. The participants can vote what they regard as the most important aspects of the topic.
- The participants are regrouped to brainstorm and come to a consensus as to the roles and significance of instructional coaches in K-12 schools.
- Ideally, the committee and the group have a follow-up workshop to summarize their conclusions. On completion of the course, the participants fill in the evaluation form and submit them to the committee for assessment and analysis. Additionally, the group is asked to provide their feedback at the end of each workshop.
Planning and Coordination
The parties responsible for the intervention implementation are:
- A cadre of Coaches;
- Professional Learning Department;
|TOPIC||AREAS OF FOCUS||METHODOLOGY||COMMENTARY|
|Setting the stage and Introduction|| ||Interaction||Because the course will involve a considerable amount of dialog, it is imperative that some rules are established, for instance: |
|Instructional Coaching & Its Roles|| ||ILT (handouts, slides, videos); Interaction||Feedback can be collected in the form of discussion, as well as the evaluation form. After the informative part, the shareholders have to be given some extra time between the sessions to process the information they receive and develop their ideas.|
|Group Discussion|| ||Interaction||This stage is the elicitation of opinions; interview-based group discussion serves as a platform for further regrouping and brainstorming of ideas to reach a unified conclusion. At this stage, it is important for each group to achieve some consensus.|
|Brainstorming & Reporting|| ||Interaction, ILT||It is important to regroup the shareholders so that they have a chance to listen, acknowledge, and share their own ideas with all the other participants. The participants can be asked to create mind maps for which aspects of instructional coaching they believe to be the most efficient and select one or several members to present their conclusions.|
|Summary|| ||Interaction. ILT||This stage is optional but without it, the sessions would not be as logical. Considering that the solutions are consensus-based, it is important that the shareholders acknowledge what they have achieved during the course. The final meeting will collect their evaluations and feedback to further analyze the efficacy of the course short-term and long-term.|
Figure 1. A sample lesson plan on The Role of Instructional Coaching course.
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Short-term and long-term evaluation
To evaluate the learning outcomes in relation to what has been expected from the course, one can employ both formative and summative methods. Considering that the proposed program is subdivided into workshops, the formative assessment methods are applicable. Formative assessment will help the learners grasp the bullet points of each session as well as gather and systematize their ideas more efficiently. Additionally, prompt formative assessments facilitate better interaction between the deliverers and the learners. The latter can be asked to draw concept maps at the end of each workshop to demonstrate their understanding of its conceptual framework.
A summative assessment would be a logical conclusion of the proposed course. A final project or report will most optimally demonstrate how the learners’ perceptions changed upon completion. Additionally, a summative project would facilitate further awareness-raising in the community.
Developing evaluation forms is an essential part of preparing and conducting a course. The effects of learning can be evaluated through such forms immediately after the workshops are over. More detailed development of the course will require, logically, the development of additional forms in reference to the subject matter of the workshops.
The format of charrettes usually calls for long-term evaluation to occur through follow-up meetings. Follow-ups involving the participants are devoted to:
- Encouraging them to stay involved;
- Analysis and summary of their feedback.
The meeting of the project manager, the Professional Learning Department, the principals, and the steering committee is sufficient in evaluating the overall outcomes of the course. The manager prepares an executive summary of the participants’ outcomes and reports the procedure and results of the workshops. This phase is designed to account for the opinion of the expert – i.e., the course designer – in terms of course usability, consistency on all levels, and content.
To reiterate, a number of psychological, political, cultural, and technological factors influence the perception of instructional coaches’ work by K-12 institutions shareholders, namely the teaching staff, the principals, and administration. These perceptions vary from school to school not least because little is known what the coaches’ roles and duties are. Such disparity calls for the design and implementation of a performance improvement program aimed at educating the shareholders on the roles and significance of instructional coaches.
The program formulated above illustrates how the learning and assessment theories discussed earlier can be applied to practice to serve this purpose. Related to Kemp’s instructional design model and employing some dimensions of participatory learning for adults (participatory lecture and charrette), the proposed program employs a learner-centered approach to achieve the objectives. The program facilitates flexible and adaptive learning, a friendly environment, maximum diversity of opinions, and maximum involvement of the participants.
A commentary provided to the lesson plan illustrates the ways of program implementation. Through the usage of various evaluation methods, either formative or summative, as well as collecting and analyzing the participants’ feedback, the proposed program can be adjusted and realigned if necessary.
Gan, C. L. (2014). Determinants of mobile wireless technology for promoting interactivity in lecture sessions: an empirical analysis. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 26(2), 158-181.
Kidd, T. T., & Chen, I. (2009). Wired for Learning: An Educator’s Guide to Web 2.0. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Kulich, L. S. (2014). Instructional coaching model. Web.
Larson, M. (2004). Participatory Lecture. Web.
Lindsey, G., Todd, J. A., & Hayter, S. J. (2013). A Handbook for Planning and Conducting Charrettes for High-Performance Projects (2nd ed.). Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Mor, Y., Mellar, H., Warburton, S., & Winters, N. (2014). Practical Design Patterns for Teaching and Learning with Technology. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Morrison, G. R., Ross, S. M., & Kemp, J. E. (2012). Designing effective instruction. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Todd, J. A. (2013). Planning and Conducting Integrated Design (ID) Charrettes. Web.