Coaching Support for Teacher-­‐ Student Relationships

New teachers faced with balancing learning a new school culture, managing curriculum planning and assessment expectations, forming new relationships with colleagues and supervisors struggle with establishing and maintaining positive relationships with students. In the absence of job embedded coaching on relational strategies from a trusted coach, new teachers I evaluated wrote three times as many referrals as their veteran teacher counterparts. They often wrote multiple referrals for the same student, greatly damaging their relationship with the student. This action research investigates how to coach new teachers on warm demander pedagogy to develop and maintain relationships based on care, high expectations and insistence. The coaching intervention opened with veteran teacher observations to identify what warm demander pedagogy looks like and involved a total of six coaching cycles with pre observation goal setting conferences, observations and post observation debriefs. Data included transcripts of pre and post observation conferences, reflective dialog with teachers, observation notes using the New Teacher Center’s formative assessment tools and researcher reflective journal. Both teachers demonstrated shifts in practice toward greater community building and inclusivity and more inclusive classroom management, which resulted in decrease in referrals and requests for three- way conferences and growth in student voice and leadership through a more facilitative or diffuse teacher stance. This study shows that a focused coaching intervention with a collaborative coaching stance using formative assessment tools and veteran teacher observations to support goal setting toward warm demander pedagogy, as well as frequent observations, debriefing conferences and reflective dialog supports teachers build and maintain a positive
classroom culture based on strong and supportive relationships with students.

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