- Help educators identify the highest impact teaching strategies
- Lead to a deep knowledge of teaching strategies
- Build a shared vocabulary
- Reduce stress and overwhelm
- Foster teacher hope and confidence
In The Instructional Playbook Jim Knight explains that improvement can be difficult as to improve we need to face our current reality. Sometimes this involves recognising what we are doing well - and to improve we need to do more of this. Sometimes it involves taking already existing knowledge and integrating it into what we do .... hence the need for a playbook.
He writes that instructional coaches help teachers learn and implement strategies that teachers want to implement to help their students hit powerful engagement or achievement goals, and that a playbook is a tool that helps coaches to firstly develop the deep knowledge they need to be effective and then secondly to use the collection of tools to support teachers to learn, implement, refine and adapt practices to meet their students' needs.
What is an Instructional Playbook?
It's a concise, precise document that summarises the essential information about evidence-based teaching strategies that instructional coaches use to support teachers and students. It's an organisational tool that coaches use to help them focus on high-impact teaching strategies and then explain those strategies to teachers. Playbooks help instructional coaches to be more successful with teachers, which in turn help teachers to be more successful with students.
Looking at the bullet list above, the final point is to foster hope and confidence. Here's the thing: when people have hope they have a goal that describes where they want to be and what they want to accomplish. If you have hope you also have agency because you have the belief that you can make things happen and that your actions will help you to reach your goal.
How is a Playbook created?
The first thing to create is a table of contents - this is a list of the most common goals that teachers identify during coaching and all the possible strategies to share with teachers to achieve those goals. This is shortened down into a one page list of powerful evidence-based teaching strategies. Following this a One-Pager is created for each strategy - this captures the most crucial information people need to know about a teaching strategy and gives teachers a resource that supports them in classroom implementation of the strategy. Creating a playbook "is fundamentally an editing process to distill the most relevant, clearly explained, and high-impact strategies for teachers to use to hit goals for students." Working together as a team to create a playbook is more manageable and effective than creating one alone.
Beating the Imposter Syndrome
During the week I had a discussion about the Imposter Syndrome with one of my mentees in The Coach programme. Many of us worry that we do not know enough about a topic to share it with others. This is an important concern as if coaches can't explain the important elements of a strategy, then it won't be possible to implement it. Creating a One-Pager might help with this as it involves describing:
- What the strategy is about
- What its purpose is
- The research that supports it
- How teachers use it
- How students use it
So here we go .... a great summer project in collaboration with other PYP coordinators I think!