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Instructional Coaching with the End in Mind xiv

A Shift to Backwards Planning

The parallels I have begun to draw between coach and coachee and between teacher and student constitute another “aha” in my growth as I continue my work with school-based coaching. The key piece in this book and the model I wish to present, which I’ve called “backwards plan-ning,” reveals probably my greatest “aha” and constitutes a shift that I believe will vastly in-crease student achievement.

This shift occurred for me as I began modifying my focus while observing teachers and as a coach. It continued and expanded as I worked with other coaches who were observing and coaching teach-ers. I began turning my attention away from the teacher and focused instead on what the students were doing. I had previously spent the majority of time watching the teacher and analyzing what I was seeing, comparing it to what I knew to be effective teaching practices. Students served as a secondary focus, alerting me to a problem in teacher performance if they were off task. Otherwise I looked solely at how the teacher was delivering instruction.

Once I shifted my perspective—literally turning my chair around and moving to the front of the classroom to face the students instead of watching the teacher from the back of the room—I began observing students and their behaviors. I asked myself the question, “Are students doing what they need to do to achieve the goal the teacher has set? If so, what is the connection between what the teacher is doing and the behaviors students

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