The Kentucky Association of School Administrators Summer Institute will be held July 13-15 at the Galt House in Louisville. Click here to register or learn more. I'll be presenting on Thursday in a session entitled, "Helping Principals Help Teachers: Improving Instructional Leadership Through Coaching and Self Reflection." I'll share preliminary results of a year-long study I led in which a team of researchers developed a protocol for coaching principals in their efforts to help struggling teachers improve their instructional practices.
This work is an extension of my doctoral dissertation research, which used the concept of theories of practice to better understand how successful principals think about their own instructional leadership. A theory of practice is a kind of graphic organizer that maps out a person's "game plan" for solving a professional problem of practice. Theories of practice are statements that explain not only how you plan to solve a problem, but also state all the assumptions you are making about the problem. The idea is that your assumptions play a key role in your decision-making process, and by laying them out in black and white and reflecting on how your assumptions may be shaping the outcome of your actions, you can reflect more deeply on why your "game plan" is working -- or why not -- and make adjustments if needed.
Principals who participated in our study received one-on-one coaching throughout the year using theories of practice to help them in their work with struggling teachers. Preliminary results indicate that the principal coaching not only helped most of the teachers improve their practice, but also gave the principals a great opportunity for self-reflection on their own leadership behaviors and assumptions. At KASA I'll discuss these findings in greater detail and share suggestions for how other approaches to principal coaching might be helpful. One of the participant principals will share her own perspective on the experience.
Hope to see you there!