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PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection Assists Educators with Instructional Coaching Responsibilities

Posted Jun 25, 2007
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PBS TeacherLine has launched a new product to help educators build and improve their coaching skills as they work with their peers to increase student achievement. Master teachers, department chairs, and others are assuming the role of instructional coach - providing job-embedded, ongoing training to their peers - as schools nationwide transition to a new model of professional development. PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection is an expansive online suite of tools designed to support instructional coaches and others providing onsite, continuous professional development for teachers.

According to surveys conducted by Hezel Associates on behalf of PBS TeacherLine, 46 percent of superintendents and 65 percent of principals report the use of instructional coaching. Schools and districts nationwide are moving away from traditional models of professional development that provide only one-time or short-term training. As administrators make this shift, they are tasking school or district faculty with instructional coaching responsibilities. Coaches express a need for ongoing support and training, particularly since this role is new to many educators.

PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection approaches coaching on two levels. First, it shows coaches how to be a "guide on the side," providing suggestions for facilitating adult learning and building a community of learners. Second, it offers coaches a rich library of instructional strategies and resources to draw upon while helping teachers accomplish their professional development goals. To that end, the functionality of PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection positions the coach as the curriculum expert, able to deliver a unique, customizable coaching experience to each teacher. It can support face-to-face, online, or blended coaching models.

PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection features resource sets, known as Coaching Modules, which incorporate both theoretical and practical information to support teachers' learning goals and provide a framework for setting expectations and outcomes around particular instructional strategies. The Coaching Modules contain various media from the PBS TeacherLine online courses, including videos, articles, interactives, and Web-based resources, and are searchable by topic, grade level, subject area standards, and media type. Coaches are able to search on instructional strategies and find applicable resources for coaching their teachers in dealing with opportunities and challenges in the classroom. Coaches may select one or two items from a Coaching Module, or the entire set of resources on a particular topic.

Coaches use the resources with teachers for building skills in:

--Assessing student performance and achievement
--Communicating with students' families
--Integrating technology
--Deepening teacher content knowledge
--Understanding specific strategies for improving classroom practice.

An embedded communication system makes it easy for coaches to access and forward specific resources to one or more teachers. Teachers can rate, tag and provide comments on any resource. A discussion board allows coaches to communicate with teachers across geographic areas to create discussion groups and share ideas.

An annual subscription to PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection is $2,495 per school building. Volume discounts are available. Educators can learn more about PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection at www.pbs.org/teacherline/peerconnection

Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline


 
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