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Kagan Coaching

Kagan Coaching

Kagan Coaching is a powerful tool to support successful implementation of Kagan Structures. The essence of Kagan Coaching™ is coaching teachers in “real time.” That is, instead of waiting until after the lesson to meet with the teacher to discuss the lesson, teachers receiving Kagan Coaching get feedback and support during the lesson, often immediately after or even while implementing a strategy.

A worry people have when first hearing about Kagan Coaching is that having the Kagan Coach give corrective feedback during a lesson, in front of the class, will publicly embarrass the teacher. Because, however, the structures involve student-student interaction, the Kagan Coach always has the luxury of giving the teacher private feedback during a lesson. The coach gives the teacher feedback while the students are occupied. The student interaction time gives the Kagan coach the opportunity to acknowledge the positives and provide a correction while students are working. Thus no one is ever put on the spot; the needed corrections are made and everyone wins!

In Kagan Coaching, the unit of observation and feedback is a specific structure like Numbered Heads Together, Sage-N-Scribe, or Listen Write! For example, the agreement may be to get coaching on Timed Pair Share. There are a number of advantages to making the unit of observation a specific structure rather than a lesson, including: feedback is more focused, preparation by the teacher can be more focused, anxiety is lowered for the teacher, and the time for coaching is reduced, in just fifteen minutes each teacher receives support and corrective feedback, having implemented the correction during the coaching session! The teacher is working on implementing something that has been shared in a workshop. The Kagan Coaching form reinforces the concepts taught in the workshop and includes the steps of the Structure, management tips, and social skills to be taught to students, if needed.

In Kagan Coaching feedback is immediate. Immediate feedback is far more powerful because the feedback is associated with a very fresh, vivid memory and is therefore easily remembered. The immediacy of feedback occurs at two levels: The teacher receives immediate feedback from the Kagan Coach, but also receives immediate feedback from seeing the effect of her/his changed instructional strategy.

For example, a teacher was being coached on Inside/Outside Circle. She had the students form a tight circle at the back of the room. The students were practicing using and giving the definitions of vocabulary words. The class was extremely noisy and the students were having difficulty hearing each other. The coach said, “Try having the students form the Inside/Outside circles using the perimeter of the room.” The teacher did, and then there was freer movement and the students did not have to compete with a voice right next to them. The teacher commented that she had used Inside/Outside Circle many times, but had never thought of using the whole room and that she could not believe the improvement. The teacher was getting immediate feedback from the change in her instructional strategy.

To work well, this model depends on an understanding among everyone involved: Coaching is not Evaluation!

If you are interested in Kagan Coaching, please contact Gavin Clowes, our Learning Coach at