Some Cognitive Coaching Data Collection Tools

I use a variety of tools, depending on what my colleague is examining in his or her classroom.
"Time stamping" can be useful; one version is to note actions of the teacher and students at some regular interval--every 3 minutes, or something like that. Anther version, which I use frequently, is to time stamp the behaviors the teacher asked me to observe. So if I am asked to script questions, I do so and add a time stamp to the question so my colleague can see when in the flow of the session the question was raised.

Another tool is "scripting." Again, if my colleague is studying her patterns of questioning, I will try to copy the question verbtim. If my colleague wants verbatim transcripts at every point, we may have to agree that a recording is necessary so I could bring a recorded. (If so, in the spirit of full disclosure, you should tell the students what you are doing, what will count as data [teacher talk not student talk] and how the data will be use and handled. There is no requirement for human subjects clearance here since is a record of what you normally do.

If my colleague wants to know where she stands or walks, I draw a diagram of the room, estimate on that diagram where they are when we start, put my pencil down at that point and move it correspondingly with my colleague's movements. I also "time stamp" at some logical interval or when I observe changes in pattern (e.g. movement up the rows as a break from movement back and forth across the front of the room.)

Some samples of my data collection:

In addition to the data collection techniques Mark listed above, I have at times been asked to identify and script student responses to the teacher's questions. In this case, I might create a diagram of the classroom including the students. Given that I don't know the students, it can be useful for the teacher to see the locations (and I might also identify gender and number of responses) of the students who responded. So in the end, the data collected will be a picture of the classroom and the scripted student responses. The teacher will them be able to identify "pockets" of activity in the classroom and "pockets" of less activity or some variation.


Elaine and Lisa
Elaine and I discussed our courses and what each person was interested in identifying. Because of the nature of our class schedules, we both observed classes, but have decided to share Elaine's observation of Lisa' course (a large lecture, non majors) because it included at lecture with acitivity. Using examples offered to us for these sessions, Elaine used time time stamping throughout the obserations in order to keep a record of Lisa's time management, as well as Lisa's movement (e.g. positioning) throughout the lecture. Documentation of the observation also included noting specific's with Lisa's teaching techinques (documenting quotes and q/a with students). Elaine added a few notes and questions for Lisa to review during our debriefing of the observations. Also, she documented (e.g. scripted) specifics of the lecture and student's actiions, for example talking in the back of class and student's coming in late.

Lesson Note- A template as an "app" drawn from the Japanese "Lesson Study"
This can be useful, but only if you are interested in the sort of data the template is constructed to collect. I caution against use of templates. The work of thinking about data that should be collected, the process of figuring out how to do that, and collecting it using paper and pencil, I find, serves to engage thinking and concentration allows adjustment of the process while in process, if necessary. Self-designed approaches are organically connected to the actual planning/teaching-observing/reflecting moments in ways the pre-prepared tools cannot be. Nevertheless, if you have an iPad you want to try out, this app is focused in the classroom event. Give it a try and report to the group what you found.