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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Scandinavian teachers get professional coaching

Scandinavian teachers get professional coaching

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It has been an amazing seven days. In fact it's been an amazing seven years.

Since 2007, I have been advocating and promoting the idea that teachers need and deserve supportive feedback from educational coaches regarding professional development. Until now this has been a service reserved for those schools and teachers who could afford it.

That changed on Friday 11th October when the Swedish National Agency for Education decided to follow through on its decision to provide observation and coaching for teachers in selected and needy schools. The funds come from the EU. There are eight educational coaches who cover the three main towns in Sweden.

Between November and the summer break, up to one hundred teachers will get the professional support they need and deserve. This means that literally thousands of students will benefit from re-energised, confident and supportive teachers.

I look forward to reporting back here at regular intervals about the progress that's being made.


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Comments (8)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

Congratulations, Martin. This sounds like fabulous news. Just out of curiosity--what convinced the government to adopt this plan?

Martin Richards's picture
Martin Richards
I train educators to use a coaching approach in their teaching practice

Samer - I think it was repeated blows to the head that did it.

No, seriously I think it was a combination of people, place and time.

There are many people inside the Swedish National Agency for Education who are continuously looking for more and effective ways of supporting teachers in a workplace that's increasingly challenging. There have been and still are continuous approaches to the Agency by many development professionals who want to contribute to the work being done in schools. And of course, the timing was great.

This year does seem to be a time of change where personal and professional development has reached the doors of the education system, and teachers were ready and willing to receive that kind of support.

Add to that, of course the specific lobbying work done by Skolcoacherna and the fact that we were the right people, at the right time, at the right place.

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Manager

"...the fact that we were the right people, at the right time, at the right place."

This. So much of creating change is all about being at the right place at the right time. Getting to that point doesn't happen on its own though. Look closely enough, and you'll probably see years of work--of patient groundwork and foundation building--that lead up to the point of change.

Martin Richards's picture
Martin Richards
I train educators to use a coaching approach in their teaching practice

It's true that it has taken seven years of being somewhere, doing something in front of someone, alone or together with other people, in order to finally be "in the right place at the right time". But I feel that such a long story would best be told in a book.

What made the difference? How did we get to the point of change?

We asked teachers about what they were doing in classrooms that worked really well, we listened.

We heard about lots of problems that teachers lived with every day, and invited them to move their attention away from problems and towards what they wanted instead, and they listened.

When we knew what they wanted their classrooms to be like, and the strategies that have been working... we had a case to show the Education Agency - and they listened.

The rest, was 'easy'.

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Martin - That is really great news. One of our regular bloggers, Elena Aguilar blogs quite a bit about the power of effective educational coaches. Here's one post from her that I really enjoyed: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/instructional-coaching-transforming-schools....

Also, have you seen our Education Everywhere video series? http://www.edutopia.org/education-everywhere-international-global-resources It shows different countries' approaches and emphasis on different strategies. Kind of similar -- In Singapore, all new teachers are paired with experienced teachers for mentoring, and peer feedback and that's all built into the schedule.

Thanks for sharing again and please do let us know if we can help with the journey in any way,
Elana

Martin Richards's picture
Martin Richards
I train educators to use a coaching approach in their teaching practice

We have just completed the assignment - 2 years of coaching educators. The results come out in April 2015. It's a government thing, we had an election in September 2014, and will have another in March 2015. Until then no news to share here.

Martin Richards's picture
Martin Richards
I train educators to use a coaching approach in their teaching practice

I am not a patient man... so I have gone ahead and created a service that brings a taste of coaching into the educator's world. We have gathered a dozen coaches who offer 1-1 coaching sessions for a very reasonable rate.

Hmm, I don't want to sound like I'm advertising so I will just invite you to look for Coaching for Educators on the internet and see what comes up.

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