By Diana Williams
“If teachers are learning, kids are learning. If teachers are learning more, kids are learning more.” -Jim Knight
In January, Michaela Brooks and myself, Diana Williams, were given the wonderful opportunity through two grants to learn with Jim Knight during a five-day workshop titled, Intensive Instructional Coaching Institute. Let’s just say there is definitely a reason they call it intensive! This post is a continuation from last week’s, which discussed our first day with Jim Knight and a look at the book, Better Conversations. Through this post, I will reflect on our second day at the institute as we learned all about The Impact Cycle.
One of the many “hats” that instructional coaches wear is to work with teachers as they reflect on their teaching and support them in their desire to grow and learn. The Impact Cycle that Jim Knight teaches is a coaching cycle that is used to provide structure, focus, and accountability to the coaching process. The three stages of the cycle are identify, learn, and improve. Overall, the Impact Cycle is set up to take a teacher from their current reality and receive support in implementing strategies to help them reach their ultimate goal.
The first stage of the cycle is identify. During this phase, teachers are given the opportunity to see their classroom through a different lens. Some ways to do this may be through student data, surveys, or video recording. Once that information has been collected, teachers are able to gain a clear picture of reality. Then, the teacher and the coach can reflect together on what is going well and what they would like to improve on. From there, the teacher is ready to set a student-focused goal and work with the coach to decide on a strategy they would like to use to reach that goal.
The next stage of the Impact Cycle is learn. During this stage, the coach and the teacher take a deeper look at the strategy chosen in stage one. The teacher then decides how they would like support in implementing that strategy. It could be modeling by the coach, observing another teacher, use that strategy or even practice the strategy without the students. Then, the teacher sets a time to implement the strategy.
The third and final stage of the Impact Cycle is improve. Throughout this stage, the teacher has begun to implement the practice and the coach provides support. Data is then collected by the teacher or coach and they meet to confirm progress is being made. They can continue to make changes as needed until the goal is met.
Overall, The Impact Cycle gives great structure to a coaching cycle and ensures that the teacher and coach are on the right track towards student improvement. Personally, I really like how this cycle is about what the teacher might like support with. By giving teachers that autonomy to choose their goal, it will be much more meaningful and more likely to continue to be implemented.