A Concern For Consciousness Education Essay

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Figure 2 below illustrates the persistence and magnitude of the regions problem in obtaining high school diplomas and college degrees. The regions high school diploma attainment rate is more than 18% below the national average. Even more disturbing is the fact that only 10.2% adults in the region have a college degree, compared to a national average of 24.4% as depicted in Figure 2 below. This is 58% below the national average. This data highlights a persistent and intergenerational problem and the reason this proposal will place a heavy focus on college- and career- readiness.

Figure 2 - Regional Degree Attainment

PETLL is a systemic process that is focused on the development of internal capacity to ensure that all students have access to high quality instructional leaders and teachers. The PETLL initiative is designed to enhance Principal and Teacher efficacy and relies on the definition of Teacher Efficacy expressed by Hoy (2002) as "teachers' confidence in their ability to promote students' learning." Researchers have taken the concept of teacher efficacy to a different level and developed a complimentary construct referred to as "collective teacher efficacy". Goddard, Hoy, and Hoy (2000) define this as "the perceptions of teachers in a school that the efforts of the faculty as a whole will have a positive effect on students," with the faculty in general agreeing that "teachers in this school can get through to the most difficult students." In the view of these researchers, "teachers' shared beliefs and actions shape the normative environment of schools." Veteran educators have likely experienced some of the effects of a strong positive-or negative-sense of collective efficacy. Teachers in a school characterized by a "together we can make a difference" attitude are typically more likely to accept challenging goals and be less likely to give up easily. In contrast, teachers in a school characterized by a low level of collective efficacy are less likely to accept responsibility for students' low performance and more likely to point to student risk factors, such as poverty as causes. As with an individual teacher's sense of efficacy, there is a positive relationship between collective efficacy and student achievement. A study conducted by Hoy, Sweetland, and Smith (2002) found that collective efficacy "was more important in explaining school achievement than socioeconomic status" and highlighted the finding's practical significance "because it is easier to change the collective efficacy of a school than it is to influence the socioeconomic status of the school". Moreover, researchers consistently conclude that the instruction students receive from their classroom teacher is one of the most important controllable variables in how much the students achieve. Quality of instruction is repeatedly identified as the most important factor affecting student learning in multiple studies (Buddin, & Zamarro, 2009; Hattie, 2009; Rivkin, Hanusheck, & Kain, 2005; Wright, Horn, & Sanders, 1997).

The PETLL Initiative is designed to enhance teacher efficacy through a systemic process by implementing protocols to increase intra-school collaboration that is specifically focused and consistently targets instructional capacity building and principal efficacy. A great deal has been written about the principal's role as an instructional leader and a recent study by Leithwood and Louis (2012) , Linking Leadership to Learning, finds that no single documented case of a school improving its student achievement record in the absence of talented leadership exist. Additionally, in a meta-analysis of 69 public education studies conducted from 1978 to 2001 in the United States the researchers found that principal leadership has a significant and positive relationship with student achievement (Marzano, Walters, & McNulty, 2005). According to Michael Fullan, "the single most important factor in moving schools forward is that the principal is also a learner" (2010, p.63). The PETLL Initiative is grounded on the belief of research and summarized in a statement often made by Dr. John C. Maxwell that "Everything Rises and Falls With Leadership." Student learning is positively impacted through increased teacher efficacy when the instructional leader acts as an instructional coach and is engaged in a systemic process to ensure that the growth of his/her team is a priority. PETLL practices promote a purposeful and specific connection between practice and outcomes. Staff members learn, grow, and share - and - learn, grow, and share again in a continuous cycle. According to Green (2002; 2003), "when the professional staff begins with sincerity to believe that all students can achieve, hold high expectations for student accomplishments, and do whatever it takes to ensure that students will learn, then the school operates in a self-sustaining climate of effectiveness."

The early work of Joyce and Showers (1982) established the hypothesis that initial training followed by coaching would result in greater transfer (of the skills and knowledge presented in the training) than the training alone. Their original model of professional development includes four components: 1) the study of theory, 2) observation of demonstrations, 3) opportunities for practice with feedback, and 4) coaching. They found the coaching component, whether provided by an outside expert or by peer experts (2002), was critical in terms of actually helping teachers change their classroom practice. Training that consisted of the first three components alone without coaching had very little impact.

Joyce and Showers (2002) describe five ways that coaching contributes to the transfer of skills learned in training:

1. "Coached teachers and principals generally practiced new strategies more frequently and developed greater skill in the actual moves of a new teaching strategy than did uncoached educators who had experienced identical initial training.

2. Coached teachers used their newly learned strategies more appropriately than uncoached teachers in terms of their own instructional objectives and the theories of specific models of teaching.

3. Coached teachers exhibited greater long-term retention of knowledge about and skill with strategies in which they had been coached and, as a group, increased the appropriateness of use of new teaching models over time.

4. In our study of peer coaching, coached teachers were much more likely than uncoached teachers to explain new models of teaching to their students, ensuring that students understood the purpose of the strategy and the behaviors expected of them when using the strategy.

5. Coached teachers in our studies exhibited clearer cognitions with regard to the purposes and uses of the new strategies, as revealed through interviews, lesson plans, and classroom performance."

Neufeld and Roper (2003) expand on the potential improvement coaching can contribute to a school with the following list of advantages:

• Better school-based professional development. Professional development that addresses the needs of teachers and principals in light of their students' needs.

• Greater transfer of instructional practices to the classroom. Coaches support teachers and help them better implement instructional practices learned in a range of professional development opportunities.

• Greater collegiality and collective responsibility for student learning. Faculty develops a willingness to share their practice with one another and seek help from their peers and their coaches in order to help meet the needs of all students.

• Developing instructional leaders. Principals develop greater knowledge about and are better prepared to take on the role of leaders of instructional improvement.

• Enhanced school culture. Coaching can focus the nature of a school culture towards instruction and improved student achievement when dialog among faculty and staff centers on instruction, teachers reflect on their practice, and student data is used to drive instructional improvement.

Instructional Coaching is a critical component of PETTL and the effort required to implement a viable coaching component requires training and coordination of skilled experts, a supportive environment that promotes trust, commitment from an entire faculty, and must be integral to systemic improvement efforts within a school to increase student achievement. Neufeld and Roper (2003) discuss the "promise of coaching." These authors note that coaching does increase the instructional capacity of teachers and schools, and this is a prerequisite for increasing learning. They go on to state that a "thoughtfully developed and implemented" coaching program can not only provide teachers with the opportunity to increase their instructional capacity, but as research indicates can also help principals improve their leadership, and districts to improve their schools.

The PETLL Initiative's coaching component is guided by the work of Bob Tschannen-Moran and Megan Tschannen-Moran. Bob Tschannen-Moran and Megan Tschannen-Moran are cofounders of the Center for School Transformation and developers of the evocative coaching process. Bob is immediate past-president of the International Association of Coaching. Megan is a professor of educational leadership at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Bob and Megan Tschannen-Moran serve as expert advisors to the PETLL Coaching component.

The PETLL Initiative embraces the philosophy of evocative coaching, especially the belief that good coaching supports excellence by tapping into five critical areas of concern; a concern for consciousness, a concern for connection, a concern for competence, a concern for contribution, a concern for creativity. We also share the belief that coaching needs to be teacher-centered, no-fault, and strength-based. Following is a brief description of the undergirding philosophy of our expert advisors that is embedded in our coaching model.

Evocative Coaching is defined as "Calling forth motivation and movement in people, through conversation and a way of being, so they achieve desired outcomes and enhance their quality of life. Fundamental to Evocative Coaching are five crucial concerns that apply the principles of both adult learning theories and growth-fostering psychologies" (Tschannen-Moran & Tschannen-Moran, 2010).

1. A Concern for Consciousness

The coach's concern for consciousness generates increased self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-monitoring on the teacher's part. This lays the groundwork for all experiential learning. Fostering learning and growth requires mindfulness, the nonjudgmental awareness of what's happening in the present moment, as well as conscious awareness.

2. A Concern for Connection

The carrot and stick may, on occasion, prod people to meet minimum standards, but only high-trust connections can inspire greatness. Such connections free up teachers to take on new challenges by virtue of the safety net they create.

3. A Concern for Competence

By appreciating a teacher's current level of competence, coaches value the natural learning processes of those they coach. Encouraging teachers to clarify what they want and need, to build on their strengths, and to experiment in the service of mutually agreed-on goals empowers them to take more initiative and responsibility for their own learning and professional development.

4. A Concern for Contribution

Most teachers enter education for more than just a paycheck and summer breaks; they want to contribute to the learning and well-being of students, families, and communities. Unfortunately, the pressures of schooling can cause teachers to lose sight of the reason they became educators in the first place. When coaches invite educators to reconnect with that original inspiration, the motivation for continuous improvement takes off.

5. A Concern for Creativity

For true learning to take place, coaching must also unleash creativity. The coaching space needs to be a no-fault playing field in which teachers can follow their motivation and adopt a beginner's mind as to what steps they will take to achieve their goal. Creativity can't be coerced; it can only be invited.

The coaching component of the PETLL Initiative is interwoven across the model's design. The coaching component lends itself to embedded professional development, and professional development in PETLL schools is focused on increasing student learning. In addition to introducing and improving teaching and learning, Becker (1997) lists a number of other purposes for coaching. These include organizational as well as instructional purposes:

• facilitate/increase discussion between/among colleagues of professional topics/research

• sharing of successful practices through collaboration

• encouragement of and provisions for reflective practice

• use as a problem-solving vehicle

• reduce isolation among teachers

• promote teacher as researcher

• create a forum for addressing instructional problems

• support and assist new and beginning teachers in their practice

• build collaborative norms to enable teachers to give and receive ideas and receive assistance

The PETLL Instructional Coaching model addresses the disconnection from the classroom experience and the traditional "workshop model" of professional development. The model is an ongoing, Learn By doing, improvement process that occurs in an authentic school setting. Participants in this collaborative process engage in an instructional coaching model that promotes relationship building, positive collegial interactions, providing constructive feedback, and reflection for personal growth. Specifically the PETLL model provides participants with job embedded professional development and active learning in an environment that will create research based professional development opportunities that:

• Foster ownership and build capacity by giving teachers an active role in determining the focus of professional learning, as well as it's design and implementation (Fullan & St. Germain, 2006)

• Build skills through purposeful transfer of learning from training to classroom practice (Joyce & Showers, 2002)

• Monitor progress in order to make necessary changes throughout the process (Guskey, 2000)

Another significant purpose of the coaching model as a component of the PETLL initiative is the instructional leader developing and a school-wide "Talent Matrix" to access available resources and individual staff expertise to support school systemic improvement. Participation in PETLL provides staff with access to skills, knowledge, and expertise that might otherwise not be affordable or available.

The PETLL instructional coaching model incorporates research based best practices for coaches drawn from the work of national experts in the field. It meets the definition of high quality professional development in 704 KAR 3:035 - Section 1(1) and Section 4(2) and all of the Kentucky Department of Education Professional Development Standards which are consistent with the federal criteria in Section 9101 of No Child Left Behind. The coaching model includes:

 Minimum of 12 days engaged in coaching training over a three-year period, with 15 days of ongoing job-embedded mentoring and co-planning over the same period of time

 Virtual learning and support including use of INTEL ENGAGE™ curriculum

 Access to PETLL's coaching model guidebook and materials.

 Guided interactions with a community of school and district leaders providing mutual understanding and support.

 Individual mentoring by an experienced PETLL team lead.

 Development of skills and expertise necessary to bring evidenced based practices into classroom by working with teachers and other school leaders.

 Guidance to general education and special education teachers in working collaboratively or cooperatively to combine their professional knowledge, perspectives, and skills.

The effort required to implement a viable coaching component requires training and coordination of skilled experts, a supportive environment that promotes trust, commitment from an entire faculty, and must be integral to systemic improvement efforts within a school to increase student achievement.

The PETLL Initiative acknowledges that Instructional Coaches work within a complex social network and cannot be expected to perform their duties unsupported. Coaches require a range of supports in order to effectively conduct their work and meet the desired purpose and outcomes. Some of these are social supports that allow the coaches to perform their duties as desired. A supportive culture that generates trust and collaboration is one support that is often mentioned (Becker, 1997; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Wong & Nicotera, 2003). This type of environment has been considered a condition of readiness for initiating a coaching program; a toxic environment can diminish success for any well-intentioned school or district. Coaches may need emotional and organizational support, including the support of the local administration and clear expectations for the development process that are understood and agreed upon by all participants.

Feger, Woleck, & Hickman (2004) list six categories of skills peer coaches need to successfully conduct their coaching duties:

1. Interpersonal skills. Change can be difficult and coaches must be able to establish a trusting relationship and communicate with teachers during a process of change.

2. Content knowledge. It goes without saying that coaches working with teachers will need content knowledge, but they must also know how that content informs the curriculum. A coach serves as a content expert with whom a teacher can reflect and collaborate.

3. Pedagogical knowledge. Coaches need to understand how people learn and have a deep understanding of strategies that support different learning needs within a classroom and its surrounding school culture.

4. Knowledge of the curriculum. Coaches need a deep understanding of the big ideas of the curriculum and how they connect across grade levels.

5. Awareness of coaching resources. Coaches need to know what resources are available to them to support their work and professional growth as a coach.

6. Knowledge of the practice of coaching. Coaches need to know the processes and activities of their selected model, which may include conferencing strategies, asking probing and clarifying questions, collecting and analyzing data, and conducting demonstration lessons.

An integrated focus on the foundations of teaching and learning across the school day is what transforms schools. This kind of collegiality and reflection fosters true leadership teams, teams that change the landscape of learning in our schools.