Brisbane Girls Grammar School has been developing a Cultures of Thinking coaching model grounded in collaborative growth for our teaching staff. According to Whitmore (2009), blended coaching aims to ‘unlock people’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.’ This coaching model offers the opportunity for future-focused dialogue between a coach and a coachee. It invites self-awareness.
Mr Ryan Gill, our expert Cultures of Thinking consultant from Masada College, worked with a new team of coaches last week to explore the art of coaching conversations. This is part two of a year-long series of sessions involving theory and practice. Last year, he successfully trained five coaches and we are broadening the team to nine in 2022. Ryan is a wonderful role model, practising the skills of listening to encourage thinking, reflecting, and asking powerful questions with our new coaches.
This blended model is dialogic rather than a pure expert/novice style of coaching. It is based upon the GROW model, which supports coachees to set a pedagogical goal, discuss their reality, investigate options and work on what they will do next. This is inherently solutions-focused and invites coachees to have agency in growing their teaching practice, all the while supported by a guide on the side—their coach. Coaches meet with their coachees once per term to explore puzzles of practice and ways to advance in pursuit of their set goal. It is all about possibilities. Cultures of Thinking blended coaching values the coachee’s knowledge, allowing them to decide on next steps.
Engaging in the training of Cultures of Thinking coaches reflects the value our School places on providing time for staff to develop themselves professionally. At the same time, the School respects the capacities of existing teachers, encouraging them to contribute to the development of our school-wide pedagogy in a concrete way. Our new coaches will be assisting their peers to delve deeper into Cultures of Thinking approaches to teaching and learning, while simultaneously learning from and with them. What a wonderful way to share expertise and expand learning opportunities for our girls!
Ms Susan Garson
Director of the Centre for School-Wide Pedagogy