53: Coaching Lenses




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Coaching Lenses
Inquiry Lens:
  • Values questions, multiple sources of data
  • Problem solving
  • Admits to not knowing everything
  • Aware of assumptions and limitations
  • Concerned with the quality of the question
Change Management Lens:
  • How will change be made?
  • What conditions are needed to create change?
  • Is change possible?
  • Analysis of change conditions
  • Strengths and gaps of current climate
  • Identify and leverage change opportunities
  • What incentives, resources, and skills are needed to promote change?
Systems Thinking Lens:
  • Schools (and classrooms) are interconnected complex systems
  • Systems have logical outcomes
  • Conflict is natural
  • Complexity and diversity are healthy
  • What are the stuck points and energy sources in the system?
Learner Lens:
  • More experienced learners have more starting and sticking points
  • Considers prior knowledge and experiences of learners
  • Sets realistic important objectives that involve direct concrete applications
  • Provides individualized feedback
Systematic Oppression Lens:
  • Prejudice is a notion based on limited information
  • Racism is a product of beliefs and systems that are situated in history, economy, politics and society
  • Who has power (and not)?
  • How does power affect the truth?
  • How does power affect safety?
  • Who’s missing from the leadership?
Emotional Intelligence Lens:
  • Self awareness and self management
  • Social awareness and relationship management
  • Can ask for help and receive feedback
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Can manage stress
  • Can identify beliefs
  • Welcomes change
  • Reacts well to setbacks
  • Can empathize
  • Can identify social networks and power relationships
  • Can create safe environments
  • Can appear to various learners
  • Good at conflict management
  • Can collaborate well
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This list of lenses was initially intended for instructional coaches, but also applies well to PBL facilitators.  To successfully manage a PBL environment, PBL educators need to play many roles besides teacher.  They need to model and teach 21st century skills.  They need to be effective leaders and good project managers.  They need to learn how to groom student leaders.  The lenses make the many roles of PBL educators more explicit.  Knowing these lenses and the different approaches that go with each can help PBL educators apply the right skills and tools to the right problems.


Preparation Steps
  • Reflect to identify which lenses one applies often and why
  • Reflect to identify lenses that one applies well (and not) and the impacts of those strengths and gaps
  • If gaps might have negative consequences on teaching, research strategies to mitigate those gaps
  • Identify how one uses strengths in lenses to solve problems.  Brainstorm and research ways to extend those strengths
  • Identify a worthwhile problem that one can solve or learn more about by applying 1 (or more) of the lenses
  • Use different perspectives to develop hypotheses and potential solutions to focus problem
Early Implementation Steps
  • Trial solutions or gather data related to hypotheses in the classroom
  • Reflect on how solutions work (or not) or how gathered information supports (or does not support) conjectures based on looking at the problem from different lenses
Advanced Implementation Steps
  • Recruit thought partners who are strong in lenses that are your gaps
  • Ask how thought partners see your focus problem and what insights they have – develop conjectures and possible solutions related to these
  • Teach lenses to students when the perspectives build into these lenses can help them think in ways that develop their understandings and their products



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