Blog 2: Reading project

"Thank you for boosting us" is the titel of the second blog from Kentalis project manager Emmie Wienhoven about Video Interaction Guidance. Emmie highlights the prerequisites and supporting strategies within the Reading project that are pivotal to it’s success.
Reading Coaches not only know the theory and methods for teaching reading to Deaf learners, they are also equipped with the skills to train and coach teachers. Teachers need to be confident in applying the skills they have learned, they are the pioneers for this method in their country.

VIG having fun Blog 2

Thank you for boosting us

After a first post on positive feedback, this post will look at Video Interaction Guidance as an important skill for Reading Coaches. 

In the Reading Project in the Netherlands it showed that using Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) for 3-4 times with teachers after training to strengthen their skills, had the biggest impact on improving their teaching strategies. 
Therefore, when presented with the opportunity to equip our Reading Coaches in Uganda and Tanzania with video cameras and VIG skills we immediately took this opportunity. 

Video Interaction Guidance is a method for mentoring teachers in which the coach films 10 minutes of the teacher’s lesson after which they pick small clips that showcase the teacher’s strengths. In a session with the teacher, the coach will focus the teacher’s attention on their strengths, and together they look at the opportunities for using these strengths more. VIG connects strongly to our emphasis on positive feedback in our teacher training session and hinges on seeing strengths and empowerment of teachers. Something that in Uganda and Tanzania is quite a new approach in mentoring teachers. 

During our training sessions in Uganda the tutors immediately pointed out the shift in their approach. “We are used to faultfinding, that is how we are taught to observe teachers and give feedback, but finding strengths is very different!” 

The atmosphere changed from nervous to enthusiastic. The tutors started having fun with the videos, and enjoying watching themselves and each other while looking for what they are doing well. See the picture below.

During the training in August of 2018, the emphasis is on practicing, looking at clips of teachers, and role-playing a coaching session with a teacher, where one assumes the role of the coach, and the other the teachers. These sessions are also filmed, and discussed again. All focusing on strengths and opportunities for increasing these strengths. 

During school visits in October 2018, tutors have their first real coaching sessions with teachers. Together with the Kentalis Expert the sessions are prepared. Teachers welcome trainers and tutors with enthusiasm, some even request feedback. At the same time they are nervous, even after explaining the intention and methods of VIG. This is the result of years filled with mentoring experiences that are focused on fault finding.

One of the teachers even tries to avoid the coaching session all together! However, when sitting down and looking at the clips with her Reading Coach, her face changes, she relaxes once she is told to focus only on what goes right. After seeing the clip she sighs, and then says with a huge smile on her face: “Wonderful!”
Together they watch bits of her lesson and have great fun identifying all those things that went great, and deserve to come out more often. 

When the teacher leaves the room she says: “Thank you for boosting us!” 

The change in attitude is instantaneous, teachers feel empowered, and together with the Reading Coaches, their tutors, they can continue to build on their skills. 

 

Within our Reading Project we have the pleasure of working with over 50 teachers, from 8 different schools, in 2 countries. Furthermore we work with tutors and lecturers who participate in our training to become Reading Coaches. 

Emmie Wienhoven