Earbud #2 / Avatar

Per my blog a few days ago, I want to experiment with an Avatar like set up for teacher coaching, where the mentor teacher talks into the ear of the rookie teacher while he or she is actually teaching the kids. I asked Molly at Mastery Charter Schools in Phillly how they do this stuff (TeacherU and Aspire in Cali also do this, I believe). Here's some of what she sent back.

Introduction: In a real-time coaching scenario, during instruction, the teacher wears an earpiece and is able to receive direction from a coach that is either in the room or observing remotely via webcam. Prior to the session, the coach and teacher have identified the focus area(s) and developed a short list of “prompts” that the coach will use during the session.

Example: Mr. Min is struggling with classroom management. His coach, Ms. Brown, has met with him and conducted several observations and conferences....Mr. Min continues to struggle with “narrating the positive.” He often starts strong but quickly drops the strategy.

Ms. Brown explained the concept of RTC and Mr. Min was intrigued. They agreed to use real-time during three class periods the following week. They decided that every time a minute passed without a “narration”, Ms. Brown would say, “narrate” into her mobile phone and Mr. Min would then respond with a narration.

Ms. Brown asked about adding the command, “wake” to alert Mr. Min when it is necessary to address sleeping or head-down behavior. Mr. Min agreed and they discussed appropriate ways to address sleeping and head-down behavior. They set a goal of routinely implementing no less than 20 narrations in a class period and addressing 100% of all sleeping and head-down behavior.

This totally makes sense. The technical side is: Skype, bluetooth earpieces, Logitech Quickcam, and laptops. I asked Molly about limits, too.

Potential Uses: RTC has clear limitations. RTC is most successful in coaching on discrete, observable teacher actions that can be implemented multiple times in a lesson. The following sample command list highlights such actions:

Address > Addressing/redirecting off-task students

Check > Stop and check for understanding in the lesson

One Voice > Stop when students are talking and maintain One Voice

Question > Utilize Whole Questioning to increase student engagement

Success > Speak Success or Challenge

Narrate > Narrate the Positive

Implementation: Use for Coaching, Not Evaluation: Remote viewing should be used only for coaching. Do not use remote viewing equipment for any observations that impacts a teacher evaluation.

Limit Real Time Coaching to a few commands: Real Time Coaching will be most effective when a teacher is responding to very few prompts (three or less). A teacher will likely forget the meaning of several prompts. Additionally, teachers will not build an automatic habit if their mind is divided by attempting several different strategies at once.

Follow up Real Time Coaching to determine effectiveness: The goal of Real Time Coaching is to build habits in teachers. To be a successful intervention, a teacher should eventually be able to execute the focus strategy without the prompting. To determine whether the teacher has built automaticity with the actions, observe the teacher without the technology.

When you don’t have access to equipment: While the technology makes this process efficient, a similar method of real time coaching can happen without the video set up and ear buds. Similar to the commands, create a system of visual signals to inform a teacher of moments when he is to execute his focus strategy.

Love it. Can't wait to try it!