Sunday, August 10, 2008


I've spent the past couple of weeks reading books about coaching, in preparation for a class I taught last week. COACHING FOR BALANCE is one I absolutely loved, and is the one I ended up using as the text for the course. The author, Jan  Miller Burkins, is an elementary  literacy coach who is amazingly articulate about the complex issues facing a literacy coach. She shares several really helpful theoretical frameworks-- my favorite, and one that I know I will think about lots as I work this year, was a model for introducing a new practice, then supporting teachers as they implement it. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book (and there were actually lots, lots more!!!!!) :

"My goal is to develop teachers who know how to think intelligently about literacy (or instruction in general) not to develop a school full of intellectual clones."   Burkins, p. 23

"It is the coach's job to bring out the best in the student, the athlete, the singer, or the teacher. If you were my coach, you would need to develop a relationship with me, develop expertise so you would know how to help me, plan for my success, communicate your confidence in me and my potential, help me find the very best in myself, and, in the end, step out of the way, so I that I could claim the change as mine."  Burkins, p. 5

"Your key to helping me realize the goals of my head and my heart, however, rests in the delicate work of negotiating balance between my need for change and my sense of safety, the encouraging feedback you offer me and the suggestive comments you present, giving me too much of your time and letting change run its course, building my confidence without encouraging my dependency, presenting me with facts and presenting me with your opinions,  giving me your all and still preserving yourself." Burkins, p. 6

"As literacy coaches read, work, develop and watch teachers do the same, they inevitably become passionate about some aspects of reading instruction. However, they will be more effective if they reserve their strongest convictions for those issues most important to them. Passion can be a powerful ally or a vengeful enemy. We need to exercise our passion judiciously. "  Burkins, p. 23

"Coaching is not about fixing someone. No one is broken and no one needs fixing. It's not about giving advice, providing constructive criticism, making judgments, or providing an opinion. Coaching is a relationship."  Barkley and Bianco, quoted in Burkins, p 77

1 comment:

Laura Lynn Benson said...

Hey, there, Friend...So glad you enjoyed this book and thank you sooooo much for lending me so many of yours! I am thrilled to deepen our connections with your brilliant blog :)