Kate Winn 00:00:04 Hello to all you travellers out there on the road to evidence-based literacy instruction. I'm Kate Winn, classroom teacher and host of IDA Ontario's new podcast Reading Road Trip. Welcome to the show. This is episode seven of our very first season.
Before we get started, we would like to acknowledge that we are recording this podcast from the traditional land of the Mississauga Anishnabe. We are grateful to live here and thank the generations of First Nations people for their care for and teachings about the Earth. We also recognize the contributions of Metis, Inuit, and other Indigenous Peoples in shaping our community and country. Along with this acknowledgement and in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we'd like to amplify the work of an Indigenous artist. And this week we are sharing Birdsong by author and illustrator, Julie Flett. Award-winning author and artist, Julie Flett’s textured images of birds, flowers, art and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships, shared passions, and spending time outdoors with the ones we love.
Kate Winn 00:01:15 Add this book to your home or classroom library today, and now on with the show. I am so excited for my conversation today with Dr. Daryl Michel. He consults with organizations nationally and internationally in areas such as instructional coaching, teacher education, disciplinary literacy, learning, and lesson study and curriculum design. He's the founder of Be a Change, LLC, and co-author of Student-Focused Coaching: The Instructional Coach’s Guide to Supporting Student Success Through Teacher Collaboration, which I own, and it's fantastic, and we will dig into momentarily. In addition to his educational consulting, he serves as a project manager for the University of Texas at Austin's Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. And as a statewide coordinator supporting reading apprenticeship for WestEd. Daryl began his career in the education profession nearly three decades ago, and today continues to follow his passion of learning with and from others and advocating for voices and perspectives to be heard. Welcome, Dr. Daryl Michel.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:02:20 Thank you so much, Kate. I'm really looking forward to this.
Kate Winn 00:02:24 So before we get into my many questions that I have for you, I do want to say for listeners that your knowledge and expertise, particularly around coaching, applies far beyond literacy. This is a literacy podcast, so I'm going to be framing a lot of things in my mind in terms of how coaching works with literacy. But just so people know that your book, your wisdom, the whole coaching model that you have goes beyond literacy. In case I'm not clear about that when I'm honing in specifically, but I want listeners to know that your wisdom does apply beyond just that one subject.
I want to start with talking about the idea of professional development or professional learning. Some people use those interchangeably, some have different definitions. It's so key right now. And I'm thinking, you know, where I live in Ontario, we have a new language curriculum coming out.
Kate Winn 00:03:10 We're implementing Right to Read recommendations. So all of that teacher learning is really big. And we do have research. I mean, what the study I'm thinking of right now from Joyce and Showers, it goes back to 2002, research that has given us some insight into what types of professional training lead to the best outcomes, which is that classroom implementation. So I'm hoping that you can kind of walk us through the different components they studied and the results. So they studied four different components, and the first one I want to talk about is study of theory. So if teachers are just provided with sort of that information theory piece, what kind of impact does that have?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:03:47 Yeah, so in, in their work and in their study, they found that as participating in any professional development session, that it could have very positive effects, uh, through different reading, the discussions, the lectures, videos. So very positive effects that one can gain from just participating in a professional development session.
Kate Winn 00:04:14 Okay, and then in terms of the different aspects, so study of theory, demonstrations, practice, peer coaching, what are we looking at in terms of the best outcomes?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:04:25 Yeah, great question. So I should build on with just even the study part, when we think of just from Joyce and Showers and their work with the study, and not only the very positive effects, but when we think of short and long-term use, that if I'm only going to receive a professional development session one day, one 45 minute meeting, whatever that might be, that the effect on short-term use, Joyce and Showers concluded about five to 10% that I would actually take and be able to implement something. Long-term use - similar, about five to 10% in terms of if I only did the study of theory part. That would be what it essentially lead to. If I add in the demonstrations, which in their work we're talking about a lot of opportunities to see this skill strategy being demonstrated in some way through live, through a video.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:05:30 But I mean, we were talking about 10 plus demonstrations and even the study to the demonstration that, yeah, I'm still seeing very positive effects on knowledge because I'm having this opportunity to learn something new and to actually see it - the effects on short-term and long-term use though really don't go up a whole lot, uh, versus just doing study alone. So we're still talking 5 to 10% potentially for long-term use, maybe up to as much as 20% of actual short-term use.
If I get to see demonstrations and then I go off and actually try it, as you start to layer in from study to demonstrations, and then you start to add in let's practice what we're learning because we add in the practice part, well, very positive effects that they found many decades ago, the short-term use - because now I've studied, I've seen demonstrations, and now I'm getting to practice the short-term use - 80 to 90% of what I might actually take and implement right now.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:06:42 The long-term use of the new skill or strategy, unfortunately still remains relatively low, about five or 10%. Now, if you add in coaching, now, we start to potentially see some real significant effects based on what they learned. And so not only do I get study, I get to see demonstrations, I get to practice, but now I have someone supporting me, whether that's an actual coach, whether that's a peer, whomever it might be that very positive effects, but you're talking 90 plus percent in terms of what they found in their study participants, of not only the short-term use, but the long-term use.
And so I think that this really tells us from the couple of decades ago when Joyce and Showers started this initial research of how important it is to get away from this thinking that one day and you're gonna be an expert - off you go, and we're gonna see some kind of a long-term use. You really have to be thinking about what the support looks like on a continued basis if we're really looking for long-term use.
Kate Winn 00:07:55 So clearly from that we can see that a peer coaching model can be ideal, and we're definitely going to dig deeper into that. But for those leaders right now who maybe aren't quite ready to set that up, they don't have it in place yet, they're thinking, okay, but we only have this one day where we're going to be doing this, we want to do a workshop or we want to do something or a half day, and they're trying to figure it out. I also know that you and your co-author, Dr. Jan Hasbrook, and I want to mention, she was with us actually for episode five of our season, sharing her expertise on fluency, and she did say I could call her Jan. So I'm gonna exercise that up in here. So you and Jan, you've written this amazing book, and I know you've actually broken down four different steps that, you know, educators should keep in mind if they are just kind of offering that one-day training or just something that doesn't have that long-term peer coaching that, that we know is ideal.
Kate Winn 00:08:48 But if we're not there yet, let's just talk about those four aspects that can kind of make the make a short-term training as ideal as possible. So could you share the first one with us?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:09:00 Yeah. So the first thing of really thinking about planning, and planning is essential here. So when we think about just having a small amount of time, we really have to be thinking about what's the purpose and getting ourselves really focused on what are we doing and why are we doing it? And so if we were to think about getting even teachers to understand, too, like establishing a purpose, like how is what we're doing going to have an impact on enhancing student learning? How is this one day going to have an impact on teachers and potentially improve some type of their practice? So, do we have to really be able to, for an administrator or whomever's planning this, to think about the real benefits f for introducing what this new skill or strategy might be, this process, but also really making a conscious effort to link this to the needs.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:10:04 Why are we doing this in this context with our teachers, and what is it really going to do? We also have to really think in this establishing a purpose as things are being planned out is making it practical. When we think about things that are new, we also have to understand that people get in real habits and getting out of habits takes some time. So trying to make this really practical in terms of getting folks to understand how this particular starting point will make a difference is going to be so, so important. So we can start with, this is a really big picture of what we're trying to do, why we're trying to do it, and over time we can really dive into the how aspect of what we're doing.
Kate Winn 00:11:01 Yeah. Well, just on that first step, I wanted to mention that I think in the literacy world right now, with all of the science of reading, as people keep talking about structured literacy, people do need a little bit of that, the why are we doing this the whole day? Can't just be about that. But I think to get buy-in, you do kind of need some of that. And even the student outcomes piece, I know, for example, if I'm leading training on Acadience screening, I like to show a before and after of student data, right? Like, just so they kind of see, I mean, their own data would mean more to them, but I mean, just to show, oh, okay, a real class did this and the actual outcomes can change, right? So I think that's also helpful. So once you've planned that all out, you've got your purpose, you've established the kind of that why, what is the second step people should keep in mind?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:11:43 Yeah. So this are some of the how, and what does this really look like? And that goes back to supporting the work of Joyce and Showers. And again, as even thinking about this, when I say decades, you know, we talk about in the book of just referencing back to 1982 of Joyce and Showers some of that, uh, some of that pioneering research of what it takes to really build this high level of knowledge and skill in teachers. And so if we think about the second part, how do we then provide opportunities for modeling and demonstrations? And so that could be modeling different processes, routines. It could be having teachers who are practicing, demonstrating things to each other, for each other, for example, if you took something like, you know, students are demonstrating or showing on beginning of year assessment, like you said with the Acadience, of something on the phonological awareness continuum, students are really struggling in those skills.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:12:55 Well, for teachers, it might not be that, well, I understand the whole, what they're struggling with. But it could end up being that, but I don't know how to help, I don't know how to help students on these particular skills on the continuum. And so having these opportunities for teachers to feel as though they're in a safe space and it's non-threatening that, Hey, you don't know how to do this, so let me tell you show you. It's a safe space, hopefully, where I can actually practice what does it look like and sound like when I'm teaching students how to rhyme, and what's the importance of that? What about alliteration? What about sentence segmentation? Right? Building your way all up all the way up to phonemic awareness. But these opportunities to really be able to see what these skills look like when they're taught effectively or explicitly and systematically also, the impact it can have that it's so, so important to be able to provide these times. We've got our purpose now. Let's really dig in and demonstrate and, and be able to practice what, what this looks like.
Kate Winn 00:14:13 That's great. And then your third tip I know is plan for active engagement. And I know that one can be really hard, especially in virtual delivery. I know a lot of the presentations I started doing were in the virtual only time, and it was a lot of just sort of talking to my little laptop camera and, and you know, now that things are more in person, it's like, okay, we can interact a little bit more. So what are sort of your, uh, your tips for how we can do that to active engagement piece when we're doing professional development?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:14:37 Yeah, I think that there, even in the virtual space, there are opportunities to pose questions for folks’ conversations, what I know, what opportunities to about the phonological awareness continuum or the comprehension continuum or something related to academic vocabulary. And allow people to really think through and talk about it, uh, posing or posting a standard that teachers are going to be teaching and fluency or whatever, whatever literacy skill it is. But talking about what these things mean to me individually, but also what does it mean to others? And then, so you're starting to build, I think, these opportunities for active engagement where folks can share their different perspectives, but also different ways maybe in which they've approached teaching a specific routine. There's also a lot of opportunities to plan for active engagement. I think some of where teachers bring student artifacts.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:15:40 You're able to talk about, when I was teaching this academic vocabulary word, and students were actually grappling with it. They had been explicitly and systematically taught, but now they were in these deep processing activities. Look at what some of these students did, what they were able to achieve here, and then allowing other folks to just have time to look at it, to have conversations that can be by posting something up on a slide. It could be sending out the artifact earlier. But I think that there are lots of ways here in which planning for active engagement, so important of not being talked at, but more of these opportunities for let me dig in here and talk about what's happening. Let me make this invisible kind of thinking in my mind, visible to you through oral, through written expression. But I really have to plan for those opportunities.
Kate Winn 00:16:46 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Thank you for those concrete examples there. That was great. And then your fourth step is a really important one, and I'm sure it's the one where it's kinda like, okay, we're outta time <laugh>, we're gonna skip this step. But what is the fourth thing to keep in mind for these, uh, professional development sessions?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:17:00 Yeah, for so many folks, it's not only could they talk about like some of the student work samples that I had shared, but you know, the self-reflection as individuals, you know, after you've been engaged with folks, you understand what it is that we're trying to do. You've seen demonstrations, you've been able to really do some practice. You've done some of this engaging work with other teachers now to think about your own self-reflection. And that could be, I'm gonna offer, and this, I'm gonna audio record something that I do based on what I've been learning. And then here too continues kind of the ongoing opportunities to bring those things back to other sessions in the future where you can continue the learning. Hey, I took what I learned here, what I saw. I tried it out, look at the results here, of what my students were able to do. Or here's what I learned about myself and a change in my own teacher practice based on what we were learning.
Kate Winn 00:18:08 So we know that, you know, that whole idea of the one-day PD is not ideal. You know, if we want long-term, we get that. But you've shared some excellent tips for, you know, if that's what we're working with right now, those are some things to keep in mind, so that's wonderful.
So research has clearly shown coaching to be effective. And not only have studies shown that teachers believe it to be effective, like they have perceived that having coaches and demonstrations in their classroom contributed to their growth, but we also know that it actually is in fact, effective and can be seen to result in, you know, kind of that long-term implementation and improvement in classroom practice. So definitely something that we want to do. You and Jan have written this wonderful book, Student-Focused Coaching, outlining your approach. Can you tell us what that looks like and the three different roles that you kind of envision for that coach in your model?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:18:56 Yeah, and the power and the impact of coaching, uh, Kraft and colleagues at Brown University that I often like to connect with from 2018, I believe it was, when they talk about the impact really that coaches can have on instruction, it's really difficult to see the real impact a coach might have on student achievement, because I'm one small variable, and I'm not with the teacher all the time. However, the work that I do with peer colleagues here is this opportunity to really be able to look and understand and the Student-Focused Coaching model about what students are needing. So based on data, we think about how are we going to enhance student learning. So based on that, now we can work toward maximizing teacher knowledge and skills. Like how do we take and ground everything in student data or evidence, and then start to think about our plans of actions of how we then can support others.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:20:03 And in Student-Focused Coaching, how Jan and I went through many iterations of the definition and landing on it being a cooperative, ideally collaborative, professional relationship with colleagues, mutually engaged efforts that help maximize every teacher's skills and knowledge to enhance student learning. <laugh>, I know a mouthful, right?
I want to start with what I think is so important in the Student-Focused Coaching model is that we start with the word cooperative and the thought that people have to be willing to work with me and to cooperate if we're ever going to kind of move our way into a collaborative partnership. And I think that that matters in really any kind of organization. The thought that, Hey, we're just gonna come together and we're gonna collaborate. What does that really mean? And so for us really thinking about this cooperative, how do we get folks to understand what we do, what we bring, how can we help what, you know, what, what additional value add do I, will I have here?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:21:09 And then folks really start to understand that this is not a hierarchical model. It's not an expert-based model here. Teachers have control and Student-Focused Coaching to take over the process, but I'm helping to really manage this work. So having some opportunities to decide whether or not I'm gonna work with the coach or not. And so building this cooperative relationship that hopefully will move into a collaborative partnership.
We also talk about Student-Focused Coaching and the importance of the professional relationships being mutually engaged, right? Like, just because I now have a title of a coach doesn't now mean that all of a sudden I know everything there is to know about all things literacy at every grade level. Plus, I can do all the assessments and literacy. I can teach everybody everything because I'm the holder of all this knowledge.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:22:09 And it's just not realistic. So the thought of really helping coaches understand too, and any teacher in this space, we are peers in this. We're learning together. There's no power, there's no authority. I'm not trying to change you. I'm here as this partner who's non-judgmental, non-evaluative, and really trying to build this trusting relationship. Ultimately I hope that through our ongoing interactions, if we are working together, that you will see the value that I bring, and then I'm continuing to learn with you. I'm continuing to teach as I'm going, but based on a specific need that you have around student data. And that kind of leads then too, to when thinking about the different roles that we have, what I think stands out of being different is, is the roles of facilitator, a collaborative problem solver, and then teacher learner.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:23:19 And how in a facilitator role, how I'm really working one, to establish and build these ever important relationships. I have to let people really understand who I am, what I bring, that I'm not evaluative. I'm not a supervisor. I really have to continue to keep people in that kind of mindset of my role as a coach. And so facilitating the work could be, could be definitely that as a key thing. Facilitating might also be helping people on occasion find a book that they need or to help with something related to an assessment. Uh, I don't want that to take over my role as a coach though, because I can find myself very quickly doing all these logistical things and then it's like, I'm not doing what I really want to be doing or need to be doing.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:24:18 And that's being this peer colleague. And the other thing I think it's important in the facilitator role to understand is that I'm operating within this bigger picture of a school or a district, and I'm operating within, in and under these larger potential school goals or district goals. So I want to continue to connect in the facilitator role to the larger organization, the goals and systems, and not, I just do all these things separately. So I want to be a part and help folks understand that this isn't something separate. What I'm bringing is in alignment with what everybody else is doing.
The collaborative problem solver role, this is the place where we hope folks really spend a lot more of their time. And then the collaborative problem-solving role is that's where we have really the centerpiece of the model.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:25:17 And we start that in chapter six in the Student-Focused Coaching book of how I help individuals or groups or whole school kind of think through a problem based on student data and evidence, but we don't take in this collaborative problem-solving role. We don't take just, Hey, I'm really having a hard time with, uh, the students don't want to participate. And so I'd like to really work on participation. Oh, what data suggests that that that's even a problem here. And how many people are we talking about? And so the collaborative problem-solving role of really putting yourself into this position of we have to get a clearly defined problem with goals if we're gonna try to make an impact on what it is we're trying to achieve. And so often I think what you might see is, or I've experienced many times where someone comes with a spreadsheet or a principal or someone in the district said, yep, we're really struggling on making inferences.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:26:29 And so that's what we're gonna do. We gotta really work on making inferences. Like, well, that's one data point. When we think about trying to really identify a problem, we think then of triangulating data. And from a research perspective too, like, do we have multiple measures that point us into this direction that this really is a problem? And I think for a collaborative problem-solving process that this is something, as you said earlier, that this isn't just only for literacy or for first grade. I mean, this could be systemic in terms of using the collaborative problem-solving processes. So we look at multiple measures of data, and that could be observations, it could be student interviews, which I love talking to the kids because they'll definitely tell you the truth. Looking at classroom ecology, you know, what's up on the walls, what are the anchor charts?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:27:22 What are the students doing? Like, what do we see any evidence of in terms of making inferences? And so, so I think like through this whole problem-solving process, you're getting folks to understand that you're there for them. You're grounding your work in student data, that you're going to look at these multiple measures so that we really can try to clearly define a problem. 'cause without the right problem, we have all the wrong solutions. And then when we create then this plan that the teachers lead, I'm gonna have to fit into that. It's not saying that as a coach, even I don't bring ideas or recommendations. It's as we're planning out something, we're gonna really work on. The teacher though, is still taking the lead here. And I can, if I have expertise and literacy, I bring some recommendations to the table too.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:28:17 Throughout this collaborative problem-solving process, I have to continue to learn and continue to teach. And, and through that teacher-learner role, kind of in the, in and connect it to the collaborative problem-solving role, is that if I'm gonna continue to really help a teacher on something that they're working toward achieving, yep. I'm gonna have to constantly be connected with them and showing that I am in this with you, and that in the end, the goals that you set are goals for me too. I want to see you achieve these goals just as much as you do. And I think often when the goals are written and it's authentic through these conversations, in this collaborative problem-solving role, the authentic conversations, the clearly defined goals, goals that a teacher is motivated by, inspired to, to achieve, I think they're much more apt to work toward getting that done.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:29:17 And so I have to be as well as that coach, kind of that cheerleader and supporter who's gonna help you do that too. It's very different than someone just saying, here's the goal that we're gonna accomplish by the end of the year. The other thing about the teacher-learner role is that, you know, continuing to develop my own knowledge base, whether it's literacy, whether it's mathematics, whether it's about coaching, or maybe it's communication skills that I need to continue to work on and study. So I have to keep myself in a position where I as well, constantly learning and constantly being able to do my own application of what I'm learning.
Kate Winn 00:30:00 So your whole Student-Focused Coaching model, it, it sounds so amazing, and it almost seems like, well, of course that just makes sense, like that's how everybody must be doing it. But I know that it actually differs in some key ways from perhaps traditional coaching models or cycles that others may have heard of or, or experienced. Could you just sort of summarize that, like the key thing that makes yours different?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:30:22 Yeah. I think Student-Focused Coaching stands out in a few ways, and that's one what I just described in terms of the three roles. Student-Focused Coaching has a facilitator, a collaborative problem solver and a teacher-learner. We don't work within these coaching cycles that often are back to the clinical supervision model of the 1970s with the literal little or no change. So for us in Student-Focused Coaching, it's not about, Hey, I'm gonna pre-conference and then I'm gonna observe, and then I'm gonna post-conference with you, and then I'm gonna give you some glows and grows. That's not how we operate here. One, because who am I to tell you what's happened in the little bit of time that I'm actually maybe in the classroom or something I've seen?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:31:17 Unless I'm there every day and pretty much every minute of every day, and I'm the variable in all of this work, it's very difficult to be able to provide someone with, with glows and grows. You're just missing so much of that support that you're providing to someone. So the three roles, the cycles that we don't advocate for, and the SAILS framework is different. The SAILS framework that we devote a chapter to is, you know, how we look at standards and what do people really know about the standards that they're expected to teach? And from the standards, how do they go about assessing those? How do they think about the level of thinking students are gonna be required to do? Does everybody have the same knowledge base? Do they all think this way?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:32:11 So if I understand and now have a better sense of the standard, how we're going to actually measure that through the various types of assessments, then now I can start thinking about the teaching part of it. What does it look like when teaching this standard at that level of rigor that I'm going to actually assess it at? And what if some students don't get it? What's the intervention like? So that's the S for standard, the A for assessment, the I for instruction, intervention, the first part of the SAILS framework. And then the final two components, we have leadership. So how does leadership provide the space and the opportunities to continue to get folks to understand standards, assessment, instruction, intervention, but also creating more leaders in the pipeline. It's not just about me, the coach, or principal. We can all be coaches for each other.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:33:03 Kind of takes us back to the whole peer coaching piece that we talked about earlier, and you know, Joyce and Showers, even in that model of removing the evaluation component, not providing other colleagues with glows and grows, but rather thinking about, huh, I just learned a different approach that I might use. So I think it's important there too for all of this within the leadership of we can have a coach, but we can have multiple people learning to be coaches, as well without the evaluation. And then the final S of the framework is about sustainability. And I think the important thing there is that whether we have a formal coaching model, we have an individual in a coaching position, or it's teachers who are building as coaches, like department chairs, grade level leads, whatever, is that, how do we sustain the work we're doing? So they're, again, not a one-day PD session, but there's ongoing sustained opportunities for our learning that, that we can, we can create this culture, we can create these systems that can last for hopefully a very, very long time. So those are a few things that I would say that are unique to the Student-Focused Coaching model.
Kate Winn 00:34:21 We have a lot of listeners who are in different roles. I mean, they may be classroom educators, they may be administrators, they may be coaches who are going into a coaching role, you know, all sorts of different jobs. And so what I'm hoping for now is that I can just kind of give you a role and ask you for your biggest tip or piece of advice when it comes to coaching and this learning. So if I am a district leader, maybe I'm overseeing a coaching program, or I want to set one up, what's the biggest piece of advice you would give to those leaders?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:34:48 Yeah, I think the biggest thing for district folks is to think about clarity and responsibilities. What exactly are you wanting out of an individual or individuals who are going to be coaching? How do you then create a communication plan so everybody understands who this person is and what this person will do, what's the real outcome potentially that could come from this individual being in this role, and the benefits that it could bring, but also the clarity of what the coach is going to do and what it's not and what they're not going to do. So I think from a district perspective, it's really trying to bring a whole lot of clarity to what exactly is this model? What's the purpose for it? If you want a quasi administrator position or you want another administrator, then I would tell district folks, don't call 'em a coach. Coaches can't know everything about all things, right? So really try to bring some clarity to what exactly will the individuals be doing and then support them in those efforts.
Kate Winn 00:35:58 So now let's pretend I'm the coach, and I know even where we are, a lot of new reading coaches, literacy coaches, a lot of those new roles supporting our new curriculum. But of course that applies across our country, throughout the states as well. Lots of people in these coaching roles. Biggest piece of advice for the coach?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:36:13 Yeah, I think coaches have to go into this position knowing that I'm your colleague. That I don't have more power now that I have this new title. I think coaches have to understand that there's a fine line with the evaluation and supervision, and they have to be very careful of establishing these trusting and confidential relationships with their colleagues. I think coaches also have to really be open and honest and transparent of, I don't have all the answers, that we can work together and we'll figure things out. But I think there are many things here for a coach to go in at really being transparent about the role and really being, about I have to have these cooperative relationships if I'm really trying to, to establish partnerships with, with those, with those who I'm going to be supporting.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:37:10 So that would be some of the things I would say for a coach. And I think also for a coach, I would say is a lot of practice yourself. So when you think about just how do you communicate with different people, practice it. When you're problem-solving with someone, practice it. So taking the time to, not superficially in some ways, pretend like I know all this stuff, it's okay. It's gonna be a process. I've been coaching for 25 years of my 30-year career almost, and I'm learning about coaching all the time. So don't ever think that, uh, you have to have all the answers.
Kate Winn 00:37:57 What would you suggest for the classroom teachers who may be welcoming or not necessarily welcoming, but having a coach into the room? I know in your model, the teachers would be on board with that process, right? But I know in some places it's more a mandated thing. Here is the coach that you get, like it or not. What would be your biggest tip for those classroom teachers, you know, who may have various feelings about this? How can they best make this work for them?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:38:21 Yeah. You know, I think what's really been good for, with the Student-Focused Coaching model. Not only is it about an individual, but I can work with anyone in grade levels departments as a school if we're focused on something. And so if I think about, oh, we've determined that academic vocabulary is this area of need that we're really gonna be working on, you know, through sustained professional learning opportunities that I might provide, I get opportunities to continue to learn and teach with everyone within the system. My hope is that I would be continuing to build more partnerships with other teachers who may be like, Hmm, I don't know about you yet. Like, I need to see what what you're about. I think still they're being with teachers to understand and to really learn from the coach is that we're a partnership.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:39:23 We work together. There's no hierarchy here. No one's going to force you in some way to change all of your practices. You have to really build that partnership so that people understand what it is, you teach your philosophy, your own experiences. We all can have a part and establishing a coaching model that can be so successful for the entire system. And again, whether that's with a formal coach, grade level leads, department chairs, there's so many people who could be seen as coaches, really in so many different capacities. In a teacher position, give things some time, give things a chance, and really understand more about this coaching model and what it's all about. I think also for teachers is to ask questions, and for teachers to really get a good sense of who is this person, what's coaching going to really look like here? And you know, I think for some teachers feeling a bit threatened, like, oh, here they come, they're coming into my classroom. Like for what, uh, teachers I think need the clarity of the reasons for the things that are gonna be happening.
Kate Winn 00:40:48 The last group I want to ask about, still those classroom teachers, but the classroom teachers who maybe have knowledge and skills that could benefit their colleagues. They don't want any formal coaching role or anything like that. But, you know, what would you say to them? What are the best ways that they can sort of share their expertise with their colleagues? What would you tell them?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:41:07 Oh, yeah. Okay. I think that is an excellent question. That takes me back to thinking about, you know, the true essence of professional learning, professional learning community of how, yeah, some teachers who, yeah, I don't want all those accolades. I don't want to be up in front of folks. And it's like that, Hey, I'm, I'm gonna ask for permission when that time comes. For teachers in those spaces, there still are opportunities where everyone, when we come together as a grade level department where everybody contributes, we all bring a student artifact, we all bring a teacher artifact that the opportunities that everyone can contribute in an ongoing kind of manner. And when I think about having presented at the structured literacy conference in New Mexico of how, with that example of a sustained professional learning plan around academic vocabulary, like we learn about the research now go off and really spend more time kind of really getting your head, just kind of grapple with this, get your head wrapped around more about what is the research and vocabulary, but come back to our next meeting with some thinking that you've done or some connections that you've made to your own classroom practices.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:42:31 So, so even a teacher who doesn't want to be out there and sharing all these things, they can keep coming and contributing. We might then move on to something like, oh, like, let's think about vocabulary standards in the next time we're together. And then all you go to really take another vocabulary standard that you're gonna be teaching and think through that critically through your lens, uh, and apply that now when you come back to our next meeting together, come with some of your thoughts of what you've tried, what you've connected. So the contributions just continue, I think, for even teachers who don't want to be in the spotlight. But you think about not only their contributions, but the contributions of others. I mean, we are constantly can be in this exchange of ideas without having to put someone kind of on a pedestal, because who does that? I mean, who decides who's the best teacher or who has the best routines? It can't just be on a test score. So I think lots of opportunities for that sustained professional learning, the ideas of contributions.
Kate Winn 00:43:40 Yeah, I loved how, even in the book, I mean, I don't have a role of a coach. I'm a kindergarten teacher. I am in there all day full time. And anything I do these side gigs, it's, it's outside of that classroom time. But I still felt like I could get a lot from the book, even in terms of what could be applied to informally, you know, coaching and all of that, which, which was great. Okay. want to get into a sticky topic now? So I want to talk about, and of course I'm thinking again about literacy, right? That whole evidence-based practices that we want to be moving towards, and the fact that there are some teachers who perhaps still maybe don't know what they don't know in terms of, of that science, maybe a bit resistant to that. Um, a couple of quotes I've written down.
Kate Winn 00:44:22 So in, um, the handbook on the science of Early Literacy, Cunningham, Firestone and Zegers have a chapter called Measuring and Improving Teachers' Knowledge in Early Literacy. And they said researchers have hypothesized the discrepancy between actual and perceived knowledge may act as a barrier to professional learning. And they talked about a Scar, Barolo and Hammond study from 2018 where teacher knowledge was assessed, and the researchers shared teachers scores with them prior to the PD, so they would kind of know what they didn't know. And they think that the significant improvements in teacher's knowledge and willingness to incorporate new practices into their instruction related to their being made aware of what they didn't know prior to participation. So, I mean, we know that sometimes it can be helpful for teachers to kind of see what they might need to work on, but we also know that in your beautiful Student-Focused Coaching model, the teachers themselves are identifying their problem, right? And the coach is working with them on that. It's not, we don't want any supervision. We don't want that hierarchy. We don't want, like you said, that cycle of, I'm gonna observe and give you feedback and that sort of thing. We don't want that. But how, as a coach, if you see perhaps an area of growth that you think might be important, is there any way to sort of get at that without crossing the line that you don't want to cross?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:45:38 Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a really, really good question there. Uh, I think that a few things. One is that I think for a coach, and even for other educators or administrators or whomever, to really try to get a grasp on people or teachers and maybe reasons for being resistant or reluctant to doing things, you know, there'll always be probably some of those who are just like, yes, I see that there's gonna be a real benefit here. Uh, and if I participate, I can almost certainly get this sense that it's going to improve my, my teaching and it's gonna enhance student learning. We know that there are plenty of folks out there who are just like, that, bring it on. Yes. I want to do this. We also know that at the opposite end of the spectrum or this continuum, right, are some who are, are reluctant and resistant.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:46:37 And for many ways, as you just said, like some folks who, uh, don't know what they don't know. Like, there are also, when we think of reluctant and resistant, we also have folks who I think in many cases are really thinking about the change that's going to be required, or, I've been successful for a really long time on whatever approach I was doing, and so now you're gonna ask me to do something different. I've been so successful using this, that now if I change to do something else, ooh, I might feel humiliated in some way because I don't get the scores that I used to, or I'm gonna have to change my philosophy. I have this, this knowledge, this philosophy. I think for folks, it's to understand first of all about the different individuals.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:47:33 Like, just like with students getting behind a number and understanding who they are, it's very similar to me for teachers, like who exactly are the individual teachers, their beliefs, and how did they get to these spaces in terms of their own philosophies, their biases, these perspectives. That's not gonna happen overnight, but through the ongoing conversations that you might have with individuals thinking about why people believe certain things that they believe, and through these ongoing conversations that you might actually get to a place where, let's talk now about evidence of the approach, evidence of the practice. So I think sometimes as well, like you have individuals who may not really understand the terms, evidence, evidence-based or research validated, there's this understand like, yeah, this has evidence, because someone said it does, or this is research validated because someone said it is.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:48:37 And so I think there's some of the knowledge building right there just about some of the terminology. So if we wanted to look in terms like within literacy, and you talked about different parts of the science of teaching reading and the different components of literacy and the impact and the evidence for many years now versus, uh, well what's the real science or the evidence behind a different approach such as what we would see right now in so many different states of balanced literacy or the three cueing system. Like what's the evidence there? Do we know that it's had any kind of an impact? So I think some of those conversations, I also think for some individuals it's like really trying to get at those as we see on page 136 in the book about those covert goals of really trying to understand from an individual of, Ooh, yeah, maybe I don't really see it, but I could be a peer colleague. I could be a teacher who through, if I'm really intent on listening within our communication, might be able to pull out some real specifics here. I like to point out, even in the book, there's one specific thing you don't mind reading here, how it was this statement of while we were analyzing the data I collected during the classroom observations, you expressed some concern about the low ratio of positive and negative statements that I recorded during the times I visited your room. I wonder if you might be interested in working toward increasing your positive statements and interactions. Might that be something you'd like to consider setting as a goal for yourself to work toward?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:50:20 I think the power just through those subtle conversations, but that's having a good relationship with someone. That's really someone understanding that you're not an evaluator here. You're supporting them and you're also giving them kind of this permission to say, yeah, this is something that I maybe I should work on. And maybe that happens as well, like just in the literacy, kind of the science of teaching, reading that just through certain conversations, my close monitoring of what I'm hearing or what I'm seeing might lead us to one of those covered goals as well of thinking about, uh, this could be a place to tap into.
Kate Winn 00:51:03 No, that sounds great. And of course, just to be clear that I'm very pro teacher as well, and when we're talking about these teachers that maybe don't necessarily know about evidence of in literacy instruction, they are dedicated and they are professional and they're well-meaning, but it's just kinda like, okay, but how can we tell them to get rid of the level books or whatever, right? So no, thank you. And it kind of leads into my next question that you have a great chapter in the book about communication for collaboration. And I think so much of what you've already talked about today, if we want to be successful, has to do with that communication piece. So what, what can you suggest in terms of adults working together, no matter what your role is in this whole, uh, this whole big picture? What are some of your communication tips?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:51:46 Yeah, I think the knowledge and awareness often in communication, and I think that as well goes well beyond an individual. This is something that could be a focus for a whole organization. This idea of, of our verbal and our nonverbal communication. And, you know, thinking about this and writing this in the book and just the continuous practice, I think folks really become aware of, oh, I tried to solve something. I tried to lead this person to this solution. I tried to give advice. And it's like, do you really know what the problem was they were trying to communicate? But just dive in with, I've been there before. I've done that, I've experienced it. And in your mind you're like, no, you haven't, you haven't experienced that. This is a new teacher. This is a different classroom. These aren't the students who you worked with at one time.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:52:42 These aren't the students who another teacher worked with. Like, this is a new context. And I think so often people in the communication part is they really start to practice and process this or see demonstrations, uh, the continuous and ongoing opportunities to work through how verbal conversations go, how I paraphrase, how I summarize how I question without leading someone. All these different verbal communication cues that are not only helpful for when working with colleagues, but also when I'm engaging with students. I also think though, uh, out of that chapter and from the Harvard Business Review, I think this was as well at 2018, this article, I don't quote me on the year, but the article about what great listeners actually do and how within that this review, talking about how in conversations, you know, when we're communicating with someone, about 80% of what we're taking here is not are nonverbal cues.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:53:50 And so when you think about being engaged with colleagues and talking parents, students, family members, whomever it might be, do you really know what you're doing? Do you know what's happening with your facial expressions? Do you understand what's happening in your body language? If 80% of a conversation comes from this continuous focus on nonverbal cues and how we keep a conversation going, that to me is, is powerful information, uh, and things that, that could be practiced and things that could be a constant focus of what do you know about your own, your own awareness? Why, why do you put your eyebrows up? Like, why do you raise your eyebrow at certain times? Uh, what's that little twitch that you get on your leg when, you know, it's so interesting. But, but, but students read that stuff as well. They notice a whole lot about what we do as educators and certainly colleague to colleague, uh, you know, that crossed arm and mean look on your face certainly doesn't, doesn't come across as like, Ooh, this person can't wait to be working with me. Uh, so, so I think that there's so much in that chapter that, that can be learned and, and really practiced.
Kate Winn 00:55:13 No, you've got me, uh, obsessing about what I'm doing with my eyebrows <laugh>, because we can see each other right now as we're talking and thinking, okay, what am I doing with my eyebrows? And what is he reading into that? Daryl, you have shared so much amazing information in this interview. Is there anything that we have missed, any really important thing about professional development or learning or the Student-Focused Coaching model? Anything that you want to throw in before we say goodbye?
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:55:34 You know, I think what the things that I was just kind of saying here for folks, whether you're an actual coach, whether you're a teacher who has coaching responsibilities, whether you're colleagues, working with colleagues in these kind of peer coaching, to continue to practice, to continue to connect with other people, continue to think about the communication. If your coach, think about the communication you have with your administrator, administrator. The same thing with your coach. Keeping these open lines of communication, being transparent, really making sure that folks, teachers and whomever else, have a clear understanding of what is this coaching model? What are we really trying to achieve? How can using this collaborative problem solver, collaborative problem-solving process support us and really getting focused with using student data, but also whether that's a literacy goal or a mathematics goal, or science or social studies or disciplinary literacy.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:56:39 I mean, academic vocabulary’s everywhere, right? Comprehension skills are needed everywhere in all subject areas. So how do we, how do we ground ourselves in data, student data, but not just a number, but getting behind those real numbers, triangulating and really thinking about before we jump to conclusions, that we really have collected enough evidence to point us in the right direction. And then creating these spaces where we can have sustained professional learning over a period of time, versus tomorrow we're gonna do this, and next week we're gonna do this and next week, like, that's not helpful. So helping us to really think about getting yourselves focused and sustained and everybody else who can continue to kind of focus on, on the same, same thing. Uh, really streamlining, streamlining the efforts.
Kate Winn 00:57:41 The last thing I want to ask you is, is there anything you're working on right now that you want to share with listeners or anywhere you want to direct them to your work? Of course, we will share a link to the book in our show notes.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:57:51 Yeah. Oh, God, I don't even know where I'd start with what am I working on, but <laugh>, but lemme say, uh, the Be a Change website is one place where I do put up like upcoming places where I'm going to be I have some opportunities here coming up to, to be able to talk to some folks in London. I have upcoming opportunities to present to the World Association of Lesson Study in the Netherlands. I have some new state contracts to work with literacy coaches across the state here. It's so exciting in which I get to work not only with coaches, administrators, but I still get to maintain and ground myself in that day-to-day work with teachers in classrooms as well, whether that's through lesson study, whether that's through looking and using SAILS framework. But there's also a lot of coaching with folks that I mean, I just get to, to live in this space and if people don't, where they can't see the excitement, but I sure hope that they can kind of hear and be like visualizing the excitement that I have on a day-to-day basis. It's, it's such rewarding work.
Kate Winn 00:59:12 Dr. Daryl Michel, thank you so much for being here for this episode of Reading Road Trip.
Dr. Daryl Michel 00:59:18 You bet. Thanks for having me. Kate,
Kate Winn 00:59:21 Show notes for this episode with all the links and information you need, including our handy listening guide can be at podcast.idaontario.com. And you have been listening to episode seven with Dr. Darryl Michel. Now it's time for that typical end-of-the-podcast call to action. If you enjoyed this episode of Reading Road Trip, we'd love it if you could rate and or review it in your podcast app as this is extremely helpful for a new podcast. And of course, we welcome any social media, love you feel inspired to spread as well. Feel free to tag IDA Ontario and me. My handle is @thismomloves on Twitter and Facebook and @katethismomloves on Instagram. Make sure you're following the Reading Road Trip podcast in your app and watch for new episodes continuing every Monday throughout the summer. We couldn't bring Reading Road Trip to you without behind-the-scenes support from Katelyn Hanna, Brittany Haynes and Melinda Jones at IDA Ontario. I'm Kate Winn and along with my co-producer Una Malcolm, we hope this episode of Reading Road Trip has made your path to evidence-based literacy instruction just a little bit clearer and a lot more fun. Join us next time when we bring another fabulous guest along for the ride on Reading Road Trip.