I have been working in a cross-cultural educational setting for the past 10 years. During those years I had very little access to professional development training or Western colleagues to share resources and ideas with. Working in this limited capacity motivated me to create my own teacher-training courses for new foreign English teachers and local Chinese teachers (see figure 1).
When I started taking this course I was so encouraged that the “instructional coaching” strategies presented by Jim Knight were very similar to the strategies I had developed and been using in a cross-cultural setting.
In chapter 2 of Jim Knight’s book, Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction, he shares the seven principles of instructional coaching:
As an educational leader, my philosophy of instructional coaching has been similar to the seven principles described in chapter 2. I believe that practicing equality is the foundation of a healthy coaching relationship. Equality is not only sharing different experiences but also reinforcing that each person is equally valuable. I like the way Jim Knight stated it, “his/her words are just as a valuable as the instructional coach” (Jim Knight, Module 2 video 2.1: Partnership Principles part 1). Once this foundation is in place, I prompt and make suggestions to my colleagues, while at the same time leaving space for them to take ownership of their work through voice and reflection. This allows them to make decisions based on their own choices. By using these principles I earn mutual respect and trust with my colleagues, developing a deeper level of partnership. Furthermore, this partnership supports collaborative dialogue in how to use ideas in the classroom (praxis).
The teaching stand I take is through reciprocity. I want my peers to see that I am learning right along with them and have faith in their ability. As I partner with other educators I also make sure to take time and reflect on what is working and/or areas that may need to be modified in order to enhance the partnership. A key characteristic that I would like to adopt is to always be respectful and persistent. I want to make a point to spend time meeting with each teacher in my educational community in order to build bridges and start friendships one by one.
I am excited to continue using the seven principals within the educational community I work in. As I move forward as an educational leader I will seek out ways to enhance my own professional practice. I will use the eight tactics of partnership leadership (module 13) to refine areas that are challenging and set up action plans to improve. I feel much more equipped as a leader having been trained in Jim Knights instructional coaching methods.
Knight, Jim (2007). Instructional Coaching: A Partnership Approach to Improving
Instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press