April 26, 2017
Lee Anna Stirling, Ed.D., adjunct professor of education in the University of New England College of Graduate and Professional Studies, recently presented at the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO) 2017 Annual Conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Stirling presented a model she developed for educators’ peer coaching. The framework, which is aligned with research on best professional development and organization capacity building practices, is designed to focus on best learning for students while empowering teachers to take charge of their professional growth.
Stirling originally developed the peer coaching model for a University of New England Instructional Leadership course she created for teachers and school and district administrators. Since effective professional development for educators includes workday support, the course focused on how school leaders can provide onsite peer coaching, professional learning groups and mentoring.
For fieldwork, the course participants implemented the peer coaching model in their schools and districts.
“Support during implementation is critical in order for educators’ professional development training to translate to best learning for their students,” said Stirling. “Equally, quality workday professional education fosters a school culture of inquiry and lifelong learning. With the saying, ‘give people food they eat for today, teach them how to cultivate food they eat for a lifetime,’ in mind, the model is meant to encourage agency, inquiry and collegiality that can impact career-long teaching.”
The peer coaching model facilitates professional growth for both the coach and the teacher being coached and encourages professional self-empowerment. Instead of giving the coaching recipient mandated instructional strategies, the coach supports the teacher in identifying a focus for improvement, connecting with resources, finding, developing and implementing strategies and assessing results.
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