“Collaborative work cultures
help reduce the professional
isolation of teachers, allowing
the codification and sharing
of successful practices and
the provision of support.”
Pam Robbins, 1993
Collegiality is not a
fully legitimate end in
itself unless it can be
shown to affect,
directly or indirectly,
the nature or degree of
pupil development. . .
Pam Robbins, 1993
Behaviors That Build Trust
Listening actively, reflectively and empathically
Focusing on problems of mutual concern
Expressing honest feelings
Defining criteria for value judgements if any are made
Brainstorming alternative solutions to problems
Maintaining eye contact
Expressing a willingness to support and experiment with
each other’s ideas
Being alert to and matching the teacher’s
level of concern
Validate where person is coming from
With peer support, YOU
have the power to make
Collaborative Work Other Than In-
Classroom Observing and
Co-planning Lessons Problem Solving
Team Teaching Idea Sharing
Curriculum Development Study Groups
Network of Lonely People Material Development
Large Group Instruction Helping Trios
Kettinger InBasket Book Club
Holistic Scoring Teams Class Exchanges
Attend Conference with Cross-school Support
a Colleague and Discuss Groups for Coaches
Jigsaw Activity using Topic Field Trip Preparation
Area Articles and Debriefing
Pam Robbins, 1993
PEER COACHING IS. . .
A confidential process through which
teachers share their expertise
and provide one another with
feedback, support and assistance
for the purpose of refining
learning new skills and/or solving
GOALS OF PEER COACHING
1. To increase student learning through improved instruction.
2. To facilitate the exchange of instructional materials and
3. To provide a mechanism in which teachers can receive
regular, positive feedback on their classroom performance.
4. To help teachers focus on the achievement of instructional
goals that improve student learning.
5. To break down the “privacy rule” which inhibits the
sharing of ideas and classroom experiences by keeping
WHAT IT IS. . . WHAT IT ISN’T
1. Observation based and specific not general
2. Professional not social
3. Collegial not competitive
4. Helping not evaluating
5. Confidential not public
6. Future oriented and dynamic not static
Some Distinctions Between
Coaching and Evaluation
Coaching and evaluation are vastly different. Because they are
often confused, it may be helpful to distinguish between them in
order to clarify the two roles.
Collegial/Peer Administrative Superior
Timing set by district/board
policy, e.g., March 1)
Safe environment to Best foot forward,
experiment and demonstrate the well-
thoughtfully examine tested procedures that
results: permission to have been perfected
Climate fail, revise, and try over a long period of
again while continually time and with which
practicing new and still both teacher and
awkward skills and students are thoroughly
Format Cyclical Terminal
Facilitate transfer of Certify the judgment of
new skills to the the effectiveness of
Purposes classroom setting to performance/adequacy
meet the professional of person to board,
needs of teachers public, and staff
Predetermined or set by
Sources of Criteria Teacher board policy or
Structure Collegial Hierarchical
Placed in personnel file
Use of Data Collected Returned to teacher as documentation of
Decision-Making In hands of
In hands of teachers
Some Distinctions Between
Coaching and Evaluation
Areas determined by Total professional
the inviting teacher: performance:
Topics Covered possibly classroom participation on school
instruction, individual committees and school
student behaviors, events, instructional
specific teacher effectiveness,
behaviors, subject attendance, grooming,
content areas punctuality, etc.
Made by the
Made by the inviting
Value Judgments administrator/
Directed by the inviting Determined by the
Role of Observer
Bestowed by the school
Bestowed by the
Power board, administration
Developed by and for Given only by
both teacher and coach administrator to teacher
Active, ongoing- Passive involvement:
Involvement involvement: “together here is my judgment,
we can. . .” this is what you can do
Communication predominately one-way
presentation of data
IS IS NOT
A GUIDE MAKING DECISIONS
FOCUSES ON PROCESS CONTENT SPECIFIC
COORDINATION OF CONTENT EXPERT
DATA AND RESPONSIBILITY OF
NEUTRAL AND BIASED MEMBER OF
UNBIASED THE GROUP
INFLUENTIAL IN MANIPULATIVE –
HELPING GROUP SEEKING YOUR OWN
COMPLETE THE WORK GOALS
FOCUSES ON PRESENT FOCUS ON PAST OR
Characteristics of Effective Facilitators
1. Enjoy working with people and have a genuine desire to help people feel good
about themselves and achieve desired results.
2. Think quickly and logically with the ability to analyze comments, understand
how they relate to the topic, and develop appropriate responses.
3. Communicate clearly and expressively by making specific concise points,
using appropriate levels of energy to build excitement and enthusiasm.
4. Practice active listening skills by engaging a speaker, listening attentively, and
asking probing questions.
5. Convey warmth to others by using smiles and gestures in one-on-one and
6. Demonstrate self-confidence and leadership when working with others, being
the person others look to for direction and counsel.
7. Have a business-orientation with an interest in finding methods to improve the
way things are done, looking beyond the narrow focus of a job to the greater
scope of the business.
Identify and model norms for interaction
Provide an equitable process
Be empathetic—show understanding of the parties’ situations,
needs, and feelings
Listen, paraphrase, clarify, and reflect parties’ comments
Initiate a structure for discussion
Be authentic—without defensiveness or hidden agenda
Provide a safe environment
Confront and challenge—but only after empathy and respect
have been established
CYCLE” PLAN PROCESS
INITIATE THE TEAM
WORK WITH THE
Roles of Leaders
Sets specific Designs process to
task(s)/outcome(s) achieve outcome(s)
Sets parameters for task Sets parameters for
Gives “expert” Guides group through
information on task process
Sets timeline Facilitates achievement
Acts as participant Acts as process guide
Norms of Facilitation of Effective Teams
Test assumptions and interferences
Share thoughts and all relevant information
Focus on interests not positions
Disagree openly with any member of the team
Make statements, then invite questions and comments
Jointly design ways to test disagreements and solutions
Discuss undiscussable issues
Keep the discussion focused
Exchange relevant information with non-team members
Members think they are grouped together for Members recognize their interdependence
administrative reasons only. and understand both personal and team goals
are best accomplished with mutual support.
Time not wasted struggling over “turf” or
seeking personal gain at the expense of
Members tend to focus on themselves Members feel sense of ownership for their
because they’re not sufficiently involved in jobs and unit because they are committed to
planning the team’s objectives and work. goals they helped to establish.
They approach their job simply as hired
Members are told what to do rather than Members contribute to the organization’s
asked what the best approach would be. success by applying unique talents and
Suggestions are not encouraged. knowledge to team objectives.
Members distrust the motives of colleagues Members work in a climate of trust and are
because they do not understand the role of encouraged to express ideas, opinions,
other members. Expressions of opinion or disagreements, and feelings. Questions are
disagreement are considered diverse and welcomed.
Members are cautious about what they say Members practice open and honest
so real understanding is not possible. communication. They make an effort to
Members may play games and set understand each other’s point of view.
Members may receive good training but are Members are encouraged to develop skills
limited in applying it to their job by their and apply what they learn for the benefit of
supervisor, other group members, or the team. They receive support from their
conditions at the workplace. team as they are learning.
Members find themselves in conflict Members recognize that conflict is a normal
situations that they do not know how to aspect of human interaction and view such
resolve. Their supervisors may put off or situations as opportunities for new ideas and
other members may resist intervention until creativity. They work to resolve conflict
severe damage is done. quickly and constructively.
Members may or may not participate in Members participate in decisions affecting
decisions affecting the team. Conformity the team, but understand that their leader
often appears more important than positive must make the final ruling in emergency
results. situations and when the team cannot decide.
Positive results are the goal.
PEER COACHING: How It Works
A. The Pre-conference
The purpose of the pre-conference is to "set the stage" for the observation. During the pre-
conference the observing teacher meets with the teacher being observed (the inviting
teacher) to gather information about:
The lesson objective(s)
The purpose of the lesson
The context of the lesson
What the teacher plans to do
What the teacher expects the students to do
Any concerns the teacher might have
The role of the observer and how the teacher would like data to be collected
The inviting teacher determines the focus of the observation. He/she determines what kind
of information would be most useful, and then works with the observing teacher to select
or design a form to collect that information. It is important that the data be objective. The
data collection might focus on:
The verbal interaction between teacher and students
The engagement of students
Interactions between teacher and students
Types of questions asked
The teacher's motivational strategies
Any other data that the inviting teacher feels would be useful
B. The Observation
During the observation, the observing teacher collects only the data requested by the
C. The Post-conference
The purpose of the post-conference is to promote teacher reflection on the observed
lesson. During the post-conference, the observer presents the data collected and assists the
teacher in "thinking back through" the lesson and reflecting on what he/she did by:
Recalling own/student behaviors
Comparing actual/desired behaviors
Analyzing why behaviors were or were not performed
Speculating on the effectiveness of his/her teaching behaviors
1. What did I do that facilitated student learning?
2. If I were going to teach this lesson again, what would I do the same; what
would I do differently?
At the end of the post-conference, time is spent discussing the coaching process and
generating future plans. During this time, the observing teacher may ask for feedback on
the effectiveness of his/her coaching behaviors. (Were the questions I asked in the pre and
post-conferences helpful? Did I collect data that were useful to you?) Both may also
determine ways in which to alter the process to make it more viable.
TIPS FOR GIVING FEEDBACK EFFECTIVELY
1. Focus feedback on the behavior, not the person.
2. Feedback should describe behavior rather than evaluate it.
3. Useful feedback is specific rather than general.
4. Feedback should be well timed.
5. Feedback should focus on the positive, for the most part.
6. Feedback should be limited to what the person can use, not necessarily all you can give.
7. Feedback should focus on information rather than give advice.
8. Feedback should focus on exploring alternatives rather than reaching one solution.
9. Feedback should include checking for understanding.
10. Feedback should focus on information, not feelings.
Principles of Coaching
A Trusting Relationship
Using good listening skills
Congruence between body language and verbal language
Sincere belief in the competence of the teacher
Clearly Defined Roles and Expectations
Desire to promote the teacher’s autonomy and uniqueness
Restating or paraphrasing
1. Administrators take teacher’s classes
2. Roving substitute teacher
3. Large group instruction (triads)
4. Volunteer aides
5. Student teachers
6. Videotaping of lessons
7. Student independent study
PEER COACHING DO’S AND DON’TS
Have a specific focus for the observation
Try to give immediate feedback
Develop trust in relationship
Focus on teaching practice, not personalities
Collect good data
Use positive feedback as focus
Go to the observation and the conference with an open mind
Let the teacher set his/her own goals
Don’t get into personal problems
Don’t go in with an agenda or looking for mistakes
Don’t give unsolicited advice
Avoid personal biases as to “how it ought to be”
Mentor/Mentee Observation Guide
The Mentor and Mentee set a date and time to do the observation. Reserve a
substitute teacher through your building administrator.
The Mentee completes the pre-observation form.
The Mentor and Mentee review the pre-observation from prior to the
observation date and time.
The observation takes place. The Mentor collects evidence.
The Mentee completes the post-observation form.
The Mentor and Mentee meet to discuss and reflect on the lesson.
Discover the Seek
Gather More about the Develop or
meaning of connections
Information speaker’s maintain a focus
language used between ideas
Would you like Let me see if I Tell me what Tell me how To what
to tell me a understand… you mean that is similar extent…?
little more Could you when you to (different
about..? provide an say… from)…
I’d be example of…? I’m curious to
interested in know more
hearing more about…
The Mentor logs the observation on their Mentor log.
Evidence is a factual reporting of events. It may include teacher and
student actions and behaviors. It may also include artifacts prepared
by the teacher, students, or others. It is not clouded with personal
opinion or biases. It is selected using professional judgment by the
observer and/or the teacher.
Types of Observation Evidence
Verbatim scripting of teacher or student comments:
“Could one person from each table collect materials?”
Non-evaluative statements of observed teacher or student
The teacher stands by the door, greeting students as they enter.
Numeric information about time, student participation, resource
Three students of the eighteen offer nearly all of the comments
An observed aspect of the environment:
The assignment is on the board for students to do while roll is
Non-verbal Feedback Most Often Requested by Teachers
Mannerisms Pencil tapping, hair twisting, coins in pocket
Use of Time Interruptions, time spent with each group,
getting class started, ending times, transition
Movement Throughout the Classroom Favoring one side of the classroom,
monitoring student progress
Modality Preference Using balanced visual, kinesthetic, auditory
modes of instruction
Use of Handouts Clarity, meaningfulness, complexity of
Use of A.V. Equipment Placement, appropriateness, operation
Pacing Too fast, too slow, wait time, time spent with
Meeting Diverse Student Needs Considering making allowances for gifted,
slow, emotional, cultures
Non-verbal Feedback Body language, gestures, proximity, eye
Classroom Management Furniture placement, bulletin board,
environment for learning, usage of space
Verbal Feedback Most Often Requested by Teachers
Mannerisms Saying “o.k.” “ya’ know” or other phrases
Sarcasm/Negative Feedback Gender reference, criticism, put-downs
Positive/Negative Feedback Use of praise, criticism, ignoring, distractive
Response Behaviors Silence, accepting, clarifying, empathizing,
responding to students’ wrong answers
Questioning Strategies Posing taxonomic levels of questions
Clarity of Presentation Giving clear directions, clear assignments,
checking for understanding, modeling
Interactive Patterns Teacher student teacher student or
teacher student student student
Equitable Distribution of Responses Favoring gender, language proficiency, race,
abilities, placement in room
Specific Activities/Teaching Strategies Lectures, group, lab, discussion, video, slide
Make at least three observations of your mentor and of other teachers each semester.
Identify particular strengths and effective behaviors that you have observed.
Are there any behaviors/strategies you saw that you would like to emulate in your own
Sheboygan Area School District
Instructional Plan for Pre-Observation
Grade/Subject: Date of Observation:
Concept/Topic being Taught:
1. What do you expect the students to be able to do from the lesson?
2. How do these expectations support the district’s standards and benchmarks?
3. Briefly describe the students in the class, including those with special needs or talents.
4. How will you differentiate to meet the individual needs of your students?
5. What will you do with the students who have already met the objectives of the lesson?
6. How do you plan to engage students in the lesson?
7. What will you do and what will the students do? Include time estimates for each component
of the lesson.
8. What assessments will you use in order to know if the students are learning?
9. How will you use the results of this assessment to drive instruction? (Attach any tests,
performance tasks, scoring guides, or rubrics).
10. What part of instruction and/or student behavior you would like me to observe?
Building Personnel File
Sheboygan Area School District
Lesson Reflection Form for Post-Observation
Teacher: Date of Lesson:
Concept/Topic being Taught:
1. As I reflect on this lesson, to what extent were students productively engaged
2. Did the students learn what I intended? How do I know this?
3. What will I do for the student(s) who did not learn?
4. Did I make any changes to my instructional plan as I taught the lesson?
5. If I had the opportunity to teach this lesson again to this same group of students, what would
I change? Why?
Building Personnel File