There are new issues regarding quality and early childhood professionals in my community of Head Start schools. As of this year, all Head Start schools must implement the following Head Start Performance Standard concentrating on the initiative of promoting Effective Teaching and Learning in Head Start Classrooms. The new HSPPS set high standards for effective teaching and learning in every classroom. One standard is “1302.92 Training and professional development.
- “(a) A program must provide to all new staff, consultants, and volunteers an orientation that focuses on, at a minimum, the goals and underlying philosophy of the program and on the ways they are implemented.
- (b) A program must establish and implement a systematic approach to staff training and professional development designed to assist staff in acquiring or increasing the knowledge and skills needed to provide high-quality, comprehensive services within the scope of their job responsibilities, and attached to academic credit as appropriate.
- Practice-based coaching is an approach to coaching that is focused on supporting teachers to implement a specific set of practices. And so where some coaching models might be about providing support to teachers or helping teachers feel like they have support, practice-based coaching is a model that’s more intentional than that, that’s more focused on making sure that teachers have the support they need to be able to implement a set of practices. And so the outcome of practice-based coaching would be teachers implementing some set of practices with fidelity” (Office Of Head Start).
Practice-Based Coaching (PBC) occurs within the context of a collaborative partnership. A collaborative partnership refers to the working interactions between a coach and teacher, group facilitator and teacher, or peers, that provide a safe space for teachers to ask questions, discuss problems, get support, gather feedback, reflect on practice, and try new ideas. Coaching is neither evaluative nor judgmental. PBC is a supportive way to help adults grow professionally. Studies that used components of PBC have linked coaching to a range of positive outcomes for teachers, including implementation of desired teaching practices, behavior support practices, or curricula; implementation of practices with fidelity; changes in teacher-child interactions; and self-reported changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes about teaching practices.
At our Head Start school, they have implemented this PBC standard and twice a month teachers at my school meet, learn about a best practice, and agree to practice the strategy in their classrooms. The next time we meet, teachers demonstrate their best practice by showing a short clip interacting with a small group, individual child or large group. The teachers who are watching and taking notes during the presentation, give kudos and constructive criticism regarding the presenting teacher’s work. For me, it is a great experience because many of the teachers in my PBC group are very supportive and give great feedback. Each week we all learn a new skill, strategy or pedagogy.
Right now, my position at the Head Start school I work for is Head Teacher but one of my goals is to become a master teacher in order to mentor younger teachers and teachers who may be struggling to obtain essential teaching strategies and best practices in early childhood. Master teachers are instructional specialists who are coaching, teaching and working with all teaching staff to elevate their quality of teaching. Another professional goal is to continue my education and contribute to the world of early childhood academia. I would like to obtain my PH. D in early childhood and do research on several topics which are key in working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. I do believe this is going to be imperative information for teachers since research shows that by 2020 the demographics of the United States will shift significantly and children in underrepresented cultures will be the majority population of the United States. My third goal is to publish relevant articles and research on my findings regarding culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Lastly, I would like to teach college-level courses in my community and share my knowledge of early childhood with younger students in my profession.