Types of Feedback for Instructional Coaching: Address

Types of Feedback for Coaching: Address

It is common for instructional coaches to provide feedback for teachers after classroom observations.

But it can be an awkward conversation if you start giving feedback the teacher isn't ready to receive. That's why "Bless, Address, and Press" is such an important skill to have among your instructional coaching strategies.

This post talks about one type of feedback, "Address," that you can provide to teachers in order to narrow the focus of your reflection time together and improve teaching and learning.

You can certainly use some of these things as a classroom teacher to give effective feedback to students. In this post, however, we are specifically talking about what that looks like for instructional coaching.

What to look for in this post:
  • Instructional coach feedback: Address
  • How to address in instructional coaching if you see many issues that need to be addressed
  • Moving forward in the instructional coaching relationship after providing Address feedback

If you prefer to hear us talk through this, here is a video featuring all of this content:

[0:57] Instructional coach feedback: Address

This type of feedback is based on the idea that there is something particular that a teacher wants you to address for them - something specific they want you to look at and provide feedback on following your observation.

As an instructional coach, “Address” is the type of feedback you primarily want to provide. You never want to go into an observation blind, because nothing is scarier as a coach than to go in without knowing what sort of feedback someone wants. It is important to join forces with teachers in order to help them to learn and grow. Giving “Address” feedback is a great way to lead into a coaching cycle.

[2:41] How to address in instructional coaching if you see many issues that need to be addressed

Sometimes you will go into an observation with what the teacher wants in mind, but other issues may present themselves. In those cases, I recommend still honoring the teacher and addressing their preferred issue. I always start with that piece that they are interested in learning more about.

If it is a brand new teacher, and/or we are starting a new teacher/coach relationship, I may just hold my tongue at first. For example, I may go into an observation with a teacher who has asked me to address questioning. During the lesson, I might notice that questioning is not really a concern but classroom management and managing student behaviors really need to be addressed. If it is my first time working with that teacher, however, I may choose not to address those issues in our first meeting and instead come back to them later. If it is a teacher I have worked with before and we have built up some rapport, I would offer some suggestions in those areas after first addressing the area they originally requested. Often, once I present a teacher with other areas to work on, they decide they like that idea better as an area of growth.

As an instructional coach, it is so important that I honor them as a teacher. They are a professional, and I need to make sure they know that I see them that way. I always start with what they want to address, and then I may layer something else on top if I think it will be appreciated and helpful.

Quote: Coaches need to make sure teachers feel honored as professionals.

[5:03] Moving forward in the instructional coaching relationship after providing Address feedback

After the initial observation and feedback session, we are going to start talking about coaching cycles. I am going to ask the teacher about the systems they have in place, what is working for them in those areas, and drilling down to something specific that they want to work on. In our work together, I will have follow-up meetings with them in order to continue to work on growth in that particular area.

I like to end every meeting with teachers by asking them what is next. I want to know what we will work on together next, what additional resources they need from me (videos, checklists, etc.), and what other next steps would be helpful. In addition, I ask to schedule our next meeting. Address is the most ideal of the three feedback types in order to make a plan to start a coaching cycle that will help teachers to grow.

Sometimes, a teacher may not have time for a coaching cycle or it feels scary for them to start one. Again, honoring teachers as professionals is key. Hopefully, as we build a relationship, they will allow me to work alongside them and help them. Other teachers, however, will want to do it on their own. I just let them know that I am available for support if they need me.

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