maple leaf 3-3. Peer Coaching

Based on "Peer Coaching For Educators" by Barbara Gottesman and James Jennings.

1. Why Peer Coaching?

In order for people to transfer/internalization of new skills they must have opportunities to explore these five critical teaching components:

    Knowledge Level
or Short Term
Application Level
or LongTerm
Modeling and
Guided Practice

The most effective way of learning is to utilize all five teaching methods. We are all aware of the first four components so we will focus on the last one (Peer Coaching).

Peer Coaching will:

  1. Help establish a line of communication between faculty members.
  2. Provide teachers a chance to think and talk about what they are doing.
  3. Help bring techniques teachers may use instinctively to the conscious level, thus improving the change they will be repeated.
  4. Expand teaching skills by expanding coaching skills.
  5. Increase the amount of time teachers spend on discussing instructional issues.
  6. Provide technical feedback from respected peers.
  7. Help professionalize teaching since it offers teachers a chance to be involved in decisions that impact on them and their students (shared decision-making).
  8. Provide opportunities to work together for the common good of the school environment.

2. What is Peer Coaching?

Peer coaching is a staff development model that provides a safe structured framework for a professional to observe a professional and provide feedback in five steps.

3. Three Phases of Peer Coaching

  1. Peer Watching - to get use to observing and making other teachers comfortable being observed (2 months)
    1. Four visits to another classroom
      • visits noted on record
      • no feedback
    2. Videotapes of self
      • four lessons taped and watched
      • four tapes erased
  2. Peer Feedback (2 months)
  3. Peer Coaching (2 months)

4. Five Steps in Peer Coaching

Step #1 Teacher requests a peer to observe a new technique or a specific concern
Teacher writes what he/she wants observed

Step #2 Coach comes and visits at the agreed upon time and observes what was agreed upon in Step #1
No judgments or evaluations!

Step #3 Coach reviews the teacher's original request, reviews his/her observation notes, and summarizes or categorizes as necessary. Do not include any evaluative statements

Step #4 The coach and teacher get together. The teacher controls the discussion NOT the coach. Coach gives suggestions if requested!

Step #5 Review: Did it work for us?

5. Implementation of Peer Coaching Consists of Six Sections

  1. Selling the idea of peer coaching
  2. Training in the Five Steps
  3. Practicing peer watching Phases are:
  4. Skills needed to peer coach
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. Peer coaching (putting it all together)

6. Some DO's and DON'T


  1. Listen actively
  2. Pause...and make reflective statements
  3. Insert neutral probing questions
  4. Bite your tongue!
  5. Let the peer fill silent gaps
  6. Review only written data
  7. Leave other concerns for other visits
  8. Etc.


  1. No blame, praise or judgments
  2. Never set yourself as an example
  3. Never offer solutions on your own
  4. Examine only the requested concern
  5. Break the peer coaching rules

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