Anna Jeavons is a NQT Science teacher at Vale of York Academy. She has been using Instructional Coaching, with her mentor, as a method to support her development as a teacher during her first year of teaching.
She says: “Instructional Coaching was a technique developed to improve a NQT’s ability to achieve their targets by practising a sequence of sub-goals, under the supervision and aid of a mentor. This allows NQTs to focus on specific aspects of teaching without being overwhelmed with the task of developing their overall teaching pedagogy, which previously was often an issue. Instructional coaching operates on the principle of the mentor guiding the mentee to their sub-goals with the use of questioning and an open dialogue
At the very beginning of my NQT year, I faced significant behavioural difficulties with one of my classes. Instead of assigning a traditional, and impractical, goal of achieving better behaviour within the class, my mentor observed the class before agreeing on a series of sub-goals. The initial sub-goal was to achieve silence during the register and make use of the positive discipline system, which the school had previously implemented, to assist me. During mentor meetings, my mentor would model how these sub-goals would be accomplished, which in return I would demonstrate to validate my understanding. Through this technique, I developed an effective strategy to achieve my initial sub-goal with the class after several lessons.
The next sub-goal assigned was to manage behaviour more effectively during the Bell Task. Again, my mentor demonstrated his techniques and ideas, which I then employed during my classes, until I had achieved a proficiency with the several behavioural concepts. After which, I could begin to focus on other aspects of my teaching pedagogy. Such as my current goal, which is focusing on the use of modelling techniques to differentiate learning, such as using faded practice, and a visualizer as an example. I have found this useful, as it allows myself to practice and master individual skills within my pedagogy. Consequently, allowing me to better integrate these skills during regular teaching, rather than allowing them to dwindle between observations.
With increasing timetables, commitments, and additional responsibilities it can be easy to feel overwhelmed during the NQT year; it can feel as if progress of your overall professional development has been hindered. However, instructional coaching has mitigated this issue, by breaking a large problem into smaller sub-problems, which can be tackled individually. Which in turn allows the mastery of the broad range of skills required for an effective teaching pedagogy.”
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