With the changing demographics in the typical American classroom, more teachers are receiving ELLs in their classrooms in greater numbers. For many teachers, this change is one where they really would like to receive peer support from colleagues quite adept at meeting the needs of ELLs in language development and access to grade level core content.
To assist teachers in this area, many schools have recruited veteran teachers with several years of proven success in meeting the needs of these students. This small cadre of teachers offers peer support. They are not administrators. Everything they see or are told is kept in strict confidence. After all, if a teacher thinks for even one second that anything the coach sees will be shared with administration, the teacher will refuse to have the coach in his/her room. When confidentiality is respected, the openness allows the teacher to develop and try new techniques in a safe risk-free environment. The teacher and coach can plan lessons together, co-teach, enter coaching cycles, etc. Coaches can even model teaching in the teacher's room.
For coaching cycles to be successful, an element of trust must be present between the coach and the coached. Coaches are trained to listen and allow teachers to clarify what they are looking to improve on. If the coach makes the suggestions, s/he is not helping the teacher. Coaches need to come with open minds and take careful notes at meetings (be sure to give the notes back to the teacher after the activity is done--this ensures confidentiality). Find supplies, make copies, secure videos, etc. to share with the teacher to enable s/he to try new strategies that s/he has designed. When the lesson is over, the coach needs to hear from the teacher first as to how s/he thought the lesson/activity went. The vast majority of times, teachers generally have a fairly good idea of how effective the lesson/activity and where they fell short in delivery. In fact, most coaches report hearing more ideas for improvement than the coaches came prepared to share!
INSTRUCTIONAL COACHING TOOLS FOR TEACHERS OF ELLS will provide you with all of the basic tools you would need to use as a coach or just a concerned peer. Share them with anyone who is looking to support a colleague going through a rough time.
ELL TEACHER PROS