Author Archives: Maureen Schlemko
During the past 5 weeks I have been involved in an online connected coaching course via plpnetwork. At this point, this course has given me great learning to reflect upon and to connect with past experience.
Connected Coaching is a combination of strengths from three coaching models:
1. The 5 States of Mind with self reflection and self-efficacy from Cognitive Coaching by Costa & Garmston
2. Collaborative communities of inquiry from Instructional Coaching by Knight
3. Appreciative Inquiry approach focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses from Evocative Coaching by Tschannen-Moran & Tschannen-Moran.
What has surprised me the most is how the Appreciative Inquiry approach can promote growth solely reflecting from a strength-based perspective. Since I learned about AI, I am excited about focusing on people’s strengths and, at the same time, feeling confident that it will help them grow personally & professionally in a positive frame of mind. When I think about teachers reflecting on their classroom walk-through data and in PLCs, I don’t ever want them to feel like they are not doing anything right. There are always many things that they are doing well and I want them to build upon those strengths and be empowered by it. In the past, I viewed coaching as helping people with their weaknesses, not their strengths. The AI approach has given me a different perspective. We do not have to focus on areas of improvement when focusing on strengths can move us forward more effectively.
Connected coaching has also helped me to realize the importance of stories. Trust & rapport emerge from educators telling their stories from a positive framework. Confidence & empowerment also start to shine as educators reflect on their practice and effectively move forward. If a negative mindset gets us off track, then the power of stories about what has gone well can bring us back to a positive frame of mind to work within.
Evocative Coaching also describes the importance of brainstorming. The idea of the Wondering Playground from Dana, N. F., & Yendol-Hoppey, D. in their book: The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Professional Development: Coaching Inquiry- Oriented Learning Communities also appeals to me because it connects with what I currently believe– play is important. This framework gives PLCs a structure for “play”. I think this will also empower teachers to pursue what may be a burning question for them that emerges from their practice.
I’m looking forward to the last few weeks of this course as I hone my skills and learn more from my colleagues.
Flickr: Over the Corn Field by Walt Stoneburner
I’ve been reading a book called Conferring: The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop by Patrick A. Allen. In this book, it quoted a metaphor by Mark Wagler (Mooney, Mooney, and Holt, 1996) for a traditional classroom:
“Traditional classrooms are like corn fields. The farmer plows the
whole field at one time. One type of corn is planted with a standard
distance between the rows and between the seeds within the rows.
Every row receives the same amount of fertilizer. Each plant should
look about the same and will be harvested at the same time. A very
What metaphor would you use for your classroom or the classrooms in your building? Would each classroom be a different metaphor? Would they all align with this metaphor? What would be a metaphor for a great learning environment? Would the metaphor align with the school’s mission/vision?
In November I was asked to share thoughts at our divisional principals’ meeting about the importance of leadership to technology integration. As I was working on some notes about what I was going to present when I came across Shelly Wright’s post I used to think… on the Power Learning Practice blog. After reading this great post, I decided to start my message with “the why” for me personally using a similar format. I also wanted to model a new presentation format so I decided to try the Haiku Deck app on my iPad. This app was easy to use and made me synthesize my message on each slide. Here is the link to the end result and below are my notes that I used to elaborate for each slide:
Slide 1: I used to think that my own kids should never have their own computer. Now I realize that I want my kids to be literate.
The Definition of 21st Century Literacies according to the National Council of Teachers of English: