“My teachers are consistently getting two stars on every report, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to help them reflect at a deeper level. What’s my next step as a coach?”
Does this sound familiar to you? It does to me — it’s a common challenge that I’ve heard from coaches at the LENA Grow sites I support. I’d like to share some ideas and strategies based on the conversations I’ve had that might help you figure out your next step if you find yourself in a similar situation.
If your program already has a strong focus on feedback-based professional development, it may take a little extra effort to help your teachers get the most out of their LENA reports and drive changes in interactive talk in the classroom. Here are some ideas for how to create deeper coaching conversations based on data:
- Take advantage of Booster Content — LENA Grow already has an extra layer built in to help teachers go deeper. Booster Content — like the challenge to “Beat your Best Day” — can be a helpful coaching tool and prompt different types of discussions and reflections from teachers.
- Approach the data through an equity lens — Because LENA feedback shows individual “Talk Clocks” for each child, teachers can gain insights into how much conversation each child is experiencing. Focus in on the Talk Clocks to help teachers understand whether a language barrier, behavior, or environmental factor may be interfering with conversation with a specific child.
- Identify patterns in reports from week to week – In addition to the “Talk Clocks,” LENA generates an individual child report for each student. Review these supplemental reports to understand the broader patterns of each child’s experience. For example, is Junaid experiencing fewer conversational turns in the mornings after arrival? What could be the cause, and what strategies could the teacher use to engage with him more? Take advantage of this data to help teachers create a big-picture action plan that will make the most impact for each child.
- Connect LENA data with lesson planning — During coaching sessions, use the hourly breakouts located in the Room Summary and Room Detail reports to identify times during the day that are generally lower in interactive talk. Ask teachers how they could intentionally add language-rich activities to these times of day when they are lesson planning for their week.
- Add more detailed information to LENA Logs — LENA Logs, where teachers jot down what they were doing during the day, are the key to figuring out which activities foster high levels of conversation. Ask teachers to pay attention to the specifics in their note-taking, writing down when they take breaks or have staffing changes, so that you can explore together how who is in the classroom impacts talk levels.
- Nail down specific goals — When you’re coaching teachers, ask them to make goals regarding specific children or specific times of day. This targeted goal setting will make it easier to directly observe results in the next LENA report and individualize the coaching conversation.
We love seeing programs that are consistently providing language-rich, interactive environments for children, and we know that doesn’t happen without your hard work. Thanks for your interest in exploring new ways to use LENA reports and for all you do to support teachers and children.
Do you have any innovative ideas to share with other coaches or challenges that you’d like to talk through? Join us on May 15 for a special webinar, “Maximizing Coaching Sessions with LENA Grow Data” to discuss more ways to help teachers make connections between data and action.