From August 31 through September 3, members of the pedagogical and administrative teams at Nations engaged in a transformative Cognitive Coaching seminar presented by the esteemed Thinking Collaborative. This engagement marked a significant step forward in nurturing self-directed learners and fostering collaborative cultures and adaptive systems within our educational community.
Thinking Collaborative, a distinguished US-based consulting firm, provides cutting-edge training and consulting services that empower individuals, teams, and organizations. Their mission revolves around equipping participants with the essential tools, concepts, and skills to establish and sustain systems that drive increased performance and resourcefulness.
Thirty-six staff members, including teachers, principals, coordinators, and directors, attended this first phase of the Cognitive Coaching Seminars: Foundation Training. Participants delved into the Planning Conversation Map, Reflecting Conversation Map, and essential Cognitive Coaching tools for four days. The second training phase will take place in January, where attendees will complete the course, refining their skills and exploring problem-solving techniques through the Problem-Resolving Map.
Throughout the training, attendees gained valuable insights and honed a range of competencies, such as:
Building trust and rapport with colleagues
Cultivating an identity as a mediator of thinking
Using conversation structures for planning, reflection, and problem-solving
Enhancing teachers' autonomy and sense of community
Developing higher levels of efficacy, consciousness, craftsmanship, flexibility, and interdependence
Applying support functions such as coaching, evaluating, consulting, and collaborating
Mastering coaching tools like pausing, paraphrasing, and posing questions
Discerning various forms of feedback
Leveraging data to facilitate thoughtful discourse.
The seminar was facilitated by Doreen Miori-Merola, a co-director at Thinking Collaborative and a distinguished consultant associated with M2 Coaching & Consulting.
Reflecting on the significance of Cognitive Coaching, Doreen Miori-Merola stated,
"I want my students to experiment, to try, not to be afraid not to hit the mark right away. If they don’t try to use some of the tools of coaching, they're going to lose the momentum. Practice makes perfect! So, even if they don’t have a formal coaching session, they have to internalize what I believe are good communication tools and use them in a way that they can give someone 100 percent of their attention. Learn how to listen to someone and not just reply to them."
Keith Ray, Elementary Principal at Nations, shared his experience after participating in the seminar.
"My experience was overwhelmingly positive. The seminar provided a comprehensive overview of the Cognitive Coaching model and its practical applications in a school environment. I firmly believe that the practices of Cognitive Coaching will be highly effective in my professional life and day-to-day operations at the school. It offers a structured approach to fostering self-directed learning and reflective practice among educators. This aligns closely with my focus on teacher supervision, performance reviews, and professional growth.
I expect the second phase to be a transformative experience that will deepen my expertise and extend its applications across various aspects of educational leadership."
Cognitive Coaching is a research-based approach that nurtures teachers' self-directed learning and reflective practices. By investing in such development opportunities, Nations aims to bolster its commitment to continuous improvement and elevate the quality of education offered to students.
The collaborative journey with Thinking Collaborative through the Cognitive Coaching seminar has ignited a new era of growth, empowerment, and shared learning within Nations’ educational community. With the tools and insights gained from this transformative experience, educators are poised to make lasting impacts on their students' lives, shaping the future through exceptional instruction and mentorship.