Sue Keck on Instructional Coaching and Hoops

To kick off the guest blogger portion of March Blogness Month, our first guest blog is appropriately about coaching.

From Discovery Educator Sue Keck:

Instructional coaching in our schools is becoming more popular every day! In Pennsylvania we have a state-wide coaching initiative that involves 25 high schools and approximately 90 math and literacy coaches. As the director of this initiative I recently facilitated a meeting at a school which was attended by administrators, teachers, and school board members. During our discussions about instructional coaches, one board member asked me, “Why did you decide to use the term coach?” Well, I thought this was a very insightful question. Here was my answer: Just as athletic coaches provide specific and immediate feedback to their athletes so that they can improve their performance, so do instructional coaches. The goal of winning is the same for everyone on a team, just as it is in a school. We all want our students to be winners in the sense that they develop the best that is in them. And the way to do that is help teachers be the best they can be.

Jim Knight is probably the most respected source when it comes to instructional coaching. When I attended his institute at the University of Kansas back in January, he showed us a video clip from the 2003 NBA playoffs. The clip shows the scene of a 13 year old girl singing the National Anthem and soon into the song, she begins to forget the words. But Coach Maurice Cheeks, who at the time coached the Portland Blazers, comes out onto the floor and supports her.

View the video clip.

I am interested in knowing your thoughts about how Coach Cheek’s actions model the behaviors we hope to see in our instructional coaches. Although he won’t ever win a Grammy, I think Coach Cheeks is a slam dunk!


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  1. Mike Cichocki said:

    I think we all can learn from the great actions of Coach Cheeks. I wish I could say that is exactly what I would do in that situation, but now I will take my lead from his actions. Only if more people would be willing to help, rather than judge. As the saying goes, those that do, do, those that want to do more, TEACH.

  2. RJ Stangherlin said:

    I love that you started us off, Sue, and I do miss your presence at the IU. But I love that you are a part of this network and continue to remind us of our roles as educational coaches. You have been my educational coach for years in your role at the IU, and you always made learning fun. Whatever it was–and over the year there were many “its”–you always lead the way, and we always followed. Thank you for continuing to remind us of best educational practices by being one of the best.

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