The Content Coaching Process:
Content Coaches work one-on-one or in small groups, focused around a set of core issues, using a three-part cycle—Plan, Teach, and Debrief.
- Plan: Content coaches take teachers on a deep dive into content and focus on specific segments of the lesson based on the coach’s and teacher’s mutually determined goals. In planning, Content Coaches work deeply with teachers on segments of the lesson (e.g., the launch), gradually building the teacher’s capacity to implement the whole lesson well.
- Teach: Guiding instruction during class is unique to Content Coaching. Coaches and teachers carefully define the scope of the coach’s intervention. By judiciously interjecting at pivotal moments during lessons, Content Coaches resemble athletic coaches: They are instructing the play during the game so that the teacher can note and internalize cues for certain teaching moves, while avoiding taking over the class or disrupting the flow of the lesson. This in-lesson coaching gives the coach an opportunity to model specific moves so the teacher can see them used in real time with her students. Working side-by-side with the teacher during the lesson is a very effective way to encourage the teacher to try on new practices at pivotal times during the lesson and allows the coach to provide immediate, actionable feedback.
- Debrief: When the lesson is over, the coach and teacher(s) think through the lesson in great detail. They examine student work, and think about its implications for tomorrow’s lesson. In some cases, where coaching is happening in small groups, an observing teacher may agree to teach the same lesson to another group of students incorporating the refinements suggested during this debrief. The debrief is an important opportunity to build reflective habits of mind and to prioritize one or two high-leverage aspects of teaching that can be applied beyond the individual lesson to any given lesson.