Supporting Teacher Leader Growth as Facilitators

Teacher leaders receive guidance and feedback as they practice leading various types of professional learning experiences.

The Improving Practice Together project and approach rely on the foundation of a high capacity partnership that includes a school district with a dedicated science leader and an external professional learning partner (or dedicated internal science professional learning team). Using IPT resources to support teacher leader growth as facilitators may require similar robust capacity.

As teacher leaders embark on their journey as presenters, it is helpful for them to have a structure and time to check in with a professional learning partner. This process also provides an opportunity to model coaching. The IPT professional learning partners used the following coaching structure to support teachers as they developed their facilitation skills:

Coaching Support: Presenting Professional Learning Sessions

Pre-conference: Have the teacher leader review and describe the script and resources for the session they will lead. Ask if they have any questions or concerns. Remind them to plan the amount of time for each step. Ask the teacher leader to describe the objective(s) of the session and how they will know if they are successful. Discuss any concerns. Ask if there is something specific they would like you to look for while you are observing.

During the session: Take notes on how the participants are reacting to each step of the session. Note any changes the teacher leader makes to the script and keep track of the timing. Record both cool and warm aspects of the facilitation based on the objectives of the session, e.g., Does the teacher leader provide enough time for participants to reflect and discuss? Were there missed opportunities to model certain strategies or teacher moves such as how to press or link ideas during a discussion? 

Post-conference: Meet individually with the teacher leader as soon as possible after the session. Be clear that your goal is to support the teacher leader in developing their capacity as a facilitator. Start with letting the teacher leader reflect on the session. Ask,

  1. How do you think it went?
  2. What do you think went well?
  3. What would you do differently next time?

If the points you noted don’t come up, share them in a way that is constructive and evidence-based, not based on your opinion of what was good or bad. Start with the warm feedback and describe what was observable, allowing the teacher to make the inferences. Here are some stems and prompts to use:

  • I noticed that when you… several teachers in the group…
  • I also observed…
    • Why do you think… ?
    • How might you create more time for…?
    • Is there something else you might try next time?

Allow time for the teacher leader to set growth goals for their next presentation. 

(Coaching session video coming soon)

Support: Facilitating Video Reflection Groups

One important role teacher leaders will have is facilitating video reflection groups for their colleagues. The resources below will help them build capabilities beyond facilitation, including pre- and post-lesson conferences with colleagues, video clip selection, and helping colleagues to select focus questions for group video reflections.