PDI-10: Coaching as a Pathway to Reflective Practice in Science (South Carolina Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Unit)
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Location: Boston, MA—Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; Room 204A
Recommended Pathway Sessions
South Carolina Department of Education's Mathematics and Science Unit in partnership with South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science
Dr. Nan Dempsey and other members of the SC Mathematics and Science Unit (MSU)
Dr. Tom Peters and other members of the SC Coalition for Mathematics and Science (SCCMS) iCoach team
SC Science Coaches
- Why is coaching an effective strategy for embedding professional development into the school day?
- What are some essential components of effective coaching initiatives?
- What are some coaching strategies that promote reflective practice in science instruction?
- What evidence is there that coaching leads to improved science instruction and increased student achievement?
“Almost overnight, coaches have become a standard feature of efforts to improve the performance of teachers … Coaching classroom teachers is an exciting development, with great potential to improve the quality and results of teaching (Mizell, 2006).” Coaching is tangible, dynamic, embedded adult learning within the context of the school day. Abundant anecdotal data supports coaching as a professional development strategy, but data related to its effectiveness is limited. South Carolina’s coaching initiative includes collection and analysis of impact data in its design.
South Carolina students have made dramatic improvements in science as measured by the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The state’s fourth-graders had the best gains in the nation, while eighth-graders had the third-best gains. Improvements in science were wide ranging and included students whose family incomes qualified them for free or reduced-price lunches, African-American students, and students in special education.
With more than 14 years of experience in designing and delivering professional development, the SC MSU is nationally recognized as a model for providing statewide, regional and local support to schools and teachers. Our Mathematics and Science Coaching Initiative began in 2003 as a response to new challenges posed by No Child Left Behind legislation. We currently teach, support, and meta-coach over 125 K–5 science and mathematics coaches in over 50 South Carolina school districts. SCCMS is experimenting with “virtual” strategies to support 31 middle grades science and mathematics coaches.
Coaching as a Pathway to Reflective Practice in Science is intended for anyone interested in promoting reflective practice in science classrooms … including their own. Participants will experience ways in which planning, feedback and reflection guided by an experienced coach can maximize personal learning and mediate adult and student thinking. In each core pathway session participants will learn and apply reflective practice techniques. This is not a “how to design a coaching program” pathway. Choice sessions will offer opportunities to explore topics of interest related to the SC MSU coaching model.
Reflective practice is demanding cognitive work. It can be demanding emotionally too. Pathway session will model reflective practice. Come prepared to be engaged in coaching conversations, reading, writing and other activities designed to help you think … and feel … differently about your own professional growth.