Using Questions in Coaching Conferences

In last week’s posting, I described the process of uncovering agenda and working with any resistance before moving into problem solving conversations. I was asked in a recent coaches’ training session to model my thinking out loud about questions as I applied it to a coaching scenario. Here is the scenario, my thinking and the questions I created. I have labeled the questions from Performance Learning Systems training called Questions for Life. If you are unfamiliar with Questions for life, drop me an email and I’ll forward the model to you.(sbarkley@PLS3rdLearning.com )

Scenario

• A fifth grade teacher tells you that she believes reading aloud is an important component of reading workshop time, but she doesn’t use it often because the students don’t listen during the reading. They fidget and are seldom able to respond to questions she asks.

My thinking :

I thought that I’d want to tackle this in two steps. First would be questions to uncover the teacher’s understanding of reading aloud and her commitment to wanting to make reading aloud effective. Second would be uncovering a process to start working on changing the reading aloud student outcome.

Step 1 Questions:

What benefits do you see from using reading aloud? Analysis
Which of these benefits is of most important to your students? Appraisal

Are these benefits important to all your students or more important to some? Same/Different
How much do you want to invest in making reading aloud lessons work effectively?

Why? Evaluation

My Thinking:

If these questions uncover an understanding of the read aloud strategy and a commitment of the teacher to want it to work, I’d proceed with a problem solving approach.
If it did not, I’d explore other areas or interest or ways to increase teacher understanding and commitment.

Assuming understanding and commitment …
Step 2 Questions:

Pick a lesson or activity (any content area) where you’ve seen your students listen well.
Describe what you saw. Perception
Identify another 6 times you’ve seen that. Analysis

What is common about those times? Induction

What is the critical issue to focus on… improving our students listening skills or motivating your students to use the listening skills they possess? Why? Evaluation

If I were to model a read aloud lesson with your students, what would you recommend I pay particular attention to when planning? Idea

My thinking: Hopefully, the teacher would invite me to do the modeling using her advice.
If that happened, I would ask the teacher to observe and collect the following data:

Question:
Where did you see the students listening the same as in previous lessons, less than in previous lessons, more than in previous lessons? Analysis

My thinking: This modeling and data collection would set the stage for repeated models, experimentation, and hopefully an invitation for the coach to observe the students as the teacher experimented.

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