It's About the Teacher-and the Question

Anna Warren

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"On a scale of 1-10, what's your homework load tonight?", I asked Aubrey, my high school freshman. "It's a five", he said.  "And here's why", he continued.  

Powerful questioning can make a big difference.  I could have asked my kiddo a yes/no question. "Do you have homework?"  (Sound familiar?)

Aubrey's answer to my more open ended question did two things: it gave me a clear picture about how to organize our evening, and-most important-he was able to process out loud and think through the tasks ahead of him.  

Asking the right kind of question isn't just helpful for my parenting.  It's a skill I'm continually working on as a school leader.

In Texas, effective conferencing is a must for successful implementation of the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). School leaders must change their thinking about conferencing with teachers.

Bottom line, it's about the teacher; it's not about you. It's about listening to them, and asking them questions that cause them to think, reflect, be motivated, and move toward action.  

Give it a try.   

Start with these more powerful questions for effective conferencing with teachers: 

For vision & goal setting: What is/was the goal of your lesson? What do you want to change?

To probe & analyze: Can you talk more about that? On a scale of 1-10, where are you? 

For planning & preparation: What strategies have you considered?  What is just one more option? 

To move toward action & implementation: What's next? When will you do that? Who can support you? 

Looking for more?  Check out two of my favorite questioning resources: Coaching Questions: A Coach's Guide to Powerful Asking Skills and Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People toward Success in Work and Life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016