Faculty Learning Community

Cognitive Coaching: Enacting Reflective Practice to Transform Teaching

Program Description

This year-long program will develop two main parts: 1) establishing cognitive coaching skills and values in the participants’ regular pedagogical planning repertoire and 2) a study of the effects of cognitive coaching on instructors’ planning, and pedagogy and student performance and satisfaction.

In the Fall 2011, we will work with twelve faculty selected from across the colleges and at early, middle and, possibly, late career stages. (We include late stage career faculty because their experience and perspectives may provide helpful context for instructional ideas and decisions younger faculty may make.) We intend to create an inclusive group of faculty along as many dimensions as possible. The Fall semester will be devoted to understanding, practicing, and reflecting on cognitive coaching skills in four, two-hour workshops (September, October, November, December) with coaching practices and classroom visits of colleagues in the intervening weeks (2 visits minimum as coach and coachee). We will invite both Profs. Costa and Garmston, the innovators of cognitive coaching to present in the Fall semester.

In the Spring 2012 semester, we will continue to practice coaching skills, but will expand the application to the classroom wherein faculty will learn to use cognitive coaching to facilitate students’ critical thinking abilities. Workshops will be devoted to discussion of the transfer of cognitive coaching from the collegial context to the classroom. Workshops will also be devoted to the design of a SoTL project to study the effects of cognitive coaching in college classrooms. While cognitive coaching is currently used among faculty on other campuses (e.g. University of Texas; University of Louisville) very little research on cognitive coaching has been done in the university context. Substantial research has been done at the primary and secondary levels so it is important to see what effects it has on teaching at the university level.

Given the description so far, we believe that this project is consistent with and advances the ITL theme of Classroom Practice of Best Practices to Enhance Student Learning. Faculty will be developing highly contextualized practices in their classrooms along with the cognitive, communication and research skills to determine “best practices” within their disciplines. Since faculty generally receive little or no training in teaching prior to their appointment, this project is intend to be a significant organizational intervention in that it attempts to transform how faculty think about teaching; how they teach and how they assess it in a fine grained manner. The collegial design of the project facilitates developing community across the campus, and facilitates accountability to peers.

Basic texts for the program

Costa, A. L. & Garmston, R. J. (1994). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.
Garmston, R. (1989). Cognitive coaching and professors' instructional thought. Human Intelligence Newsletter, 10(2), 3-4.
Knight, J. (Ed.). (2009) Coaching: Approaches & Perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.

Stober, D. & Grant, A. M. (Eds.). (2006). Evidence based coaching handbook. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Fall 2011
Attendance at four workshops; evidence of coaching (record of minimum of two planning conference, observation of colleague and reflective conference cycles as coach and two as coachee).

Spring 2012
Attendance at four workshops. Presentation of scholarship of teaching project to colleagues in the FLC and to participants’ departments.