The STEP Coaching Approach

The Benefits of Coaching

Coaches with expertise in early childhood and children’s mathematics and executive function (EF) development provide critical support to teachers as they implement new strategies that support mathematics and EF skills. The STEP coaching model is based on the MyTeachingPartner coaching approach, which guides teachers to observe and analyze video clips of their own practice. Research has shown that being able to identify what good teaching looks like, both in one's own teaching and that of others, allows teachers to make continuous improvements in their teaching practice.

How it Works

STEP coaching is a cyclical process that happens throughout the year. Teachers engage in multiple observation and reflection cycles with their coach. Key steps of the process are outlined below.

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1. Complete a Lesson Plan

Once teachers complete an online learning module, they select an activity to implement in the classroom and complete a lesson plan. The plan encourages them to think about which targeted and foundational strategies will make their implementation most effective and supportive for young children's math learning. The coach reviews the plan and provides feedback before the teacher tries it out in the classroom.

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2. Taping Your Practice

Using a tablet or other recording device, teachers record the activity they planned to implement in the classroom. The recording is a short 10-15 minute segment that is immediately sent to the coach for review. This step is not about trying to capture the perfect lesson; it's about capturing an implementation that provides opportunities to observe, reflect, and improve.

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3. Observing and Reflecting

Once the recording is submitted, a coach reviews the activity recorded by the teacher. The coach selects several small clips from the larger taping to post online for review in the coaching system. The teacher has an opportunity to log in, review each clip, and respond to a prompt posted by the coach. The prompts are designed to help teachers reflect on their own about what went well, how children responded to the activity, and ways for improving the implementation. It is an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their own before talking with a coach in more detail.

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4. Discussing How Things Went

As a final part of the coaching cycle, teachers talk with their coach about how things went with the activity they implemented. The discussion revolves around the video clips that were posted and provides an opportunity for teachers to share their observations, reflections, concerns, and questions. In addition to analyzing and discussing instruction and children's learning needs, the coaching model takes a positive approach by celebrating successes, providing encouragement, and setting positive expectations for future implementations.