Q&A with CEO and Co-Founder Kristyn Klei Borrero – Real Time Teacher Coaching
We often get asked, what is the difference between Real Time Teacher Coaching and traditional coaching methods? Why do I need Real Time Teacher Coaching if my school already employs instructional coaches? Our CEO and Co-Founder of Real Time Teacher Coaching and No-Nonsense Nurturer, Kristyn Klei Borrero, answers commonly asked questions about Real Time Teacher Coaching below.
Does this coaching really happen while teachers are teaching?
Yes – this is coaching at the point of instruction that builds on a comprehensive portfolio of training – either with No-Nonsense Nurturer (NNN) Classroom Culture Workshop, NNN Online Course or strategies from one of our instructional suites. Coaches we train do not show up one day and start issuing cues to underprepared teachers, rather they go through several days of training to properly implement this highly effective coaching strategy.
Here’s a brief overview of how Real Time Teacher Coaching (RTTC) works:
- Before a RTTC session, a coach visits the teacher’s classroom to see how they are implementing the strategies from their professional development session.
- Following the observation, the coach has a pre-conference with the teacher to set up them up for success during the RTTC session, including practice with the walkie talkie and introducing cues for the session.
- During the RTTC session, the coach carefully observes student and teacher behaviors and provides short, non-distracting cues so the teacher knows when and how to employ the strategies introduced during their PD session.
- After coaching the teacher in real time, the coach debriefs with the teacher asking for feedback about the coaching session, celebrating successes during the lesson observed, and working with the teacher to craft 1-2 deliverables to work on to improve their practice.
RTTC isn’t a prescription, it is a way of thinking about coaching and a system for supporting teacher leaders. It is very personalized and no one session is exactly the same, but that is a basic overview of how it works.
Isn’t the bug in the ear distracting to the teacher?
Some folks are weary of the bug in the ear technology and while it is strange at first we know the best time to transform any practice is real time feedback. We train coaches to be quick and precise with their cues so they don’t interrupt the teachers’ teaching rhythms. With Real Time Feedback we are able to build the teacher’s muscle memory in the moment so they can see and feel the impact of student engagement and learn how to integrate management and instructional strategies in their practice as though it was second nature so teachers are able to pay attention to student learning and differentiating needed in the classroom to support all students.
Before long, teachers that adopt a growth mindset embrace this technique and find it extremely supportive to the work. Most importantly, though we are looking to adjust some of their teaching techniques, this process allows them to remain faithful to their overall teaching and communication style.
But what about the students? Don’t they find this real time feedback strange?
Building trust with students is essential to building life-altering relationships. To that end, we coach teachers to be very transparent with students about the Real Time Teacher Coaching process. It is essential that teachers are open with their students about the importance of their job and the constant need to improve. By doing this, the teacher demonstrates high expectations for themselves and can then build a bridge to holding their students to the highest of expectations. This transparency allows students to know that coaching and feedback are important to finding success. We have seen first-hand the transformative power of this work and it often comes out in the form of students investing in its success.
Do coaches need special training?
Yes, indeed coaches need special training. CT3 associates are experienced teachers and school leaders – every one of our associates has a proven track record of success in the classroom. That’s important because it underscores the level of commitment we’ve made to ensuring our school partners and their teachers are successful.
In terms of the coaches we train, they participate in an in-depth program that breaks down the theory and puts it into practice. This involves coursework, discussion, self-reflection, and role-playing, and gradual-release coaching.
Teaching and coaching isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither is our work. Perhaps this is why it’s so impactful.
Why shouldn’t my organization try Real Time Teacher Coaching (RTTC) on our own?
I get asked this question often and the answer is simple… the protocols and the type of coaching needed to be a successful RTTC, while replicable with good training, are more complicated than they look.
When Lee Canter and I developed RTTC, we did so over about an 18-month period. We developed these protocols with high performing teachers first and then modified the protocols with middle performing and struggling teachers as we perfected them. In addition to clear protocols for baseline observation, pre-conferencing, real-time feedback and post-conferencing, training coaches to have direct, culturally relevant conversations (which are often necessary in coaching for classroom culture/management) takes significant training so they are conducted with care and empathy while supporting teachers’ development and changing teachers’ mindsets and beliefs, when necessary.
Follow Dr. Borrero on Twitter: @KKB_CT3
Visit our YouTube channel to watch what Charlotte, NC reporters discovered about Real Time Teacher Coaching in classrooms.