Sunday, October 6, 2013

What if We Coached School Like Football?

With fall comes football. Football everywhere. Friday night lights, College Game Day on Saturday, the NFL on Sunday, Monday, and even Thursday. It's a huge part of American culture. While watching a few games myself this weekend, I couldn't help but wonder what school would be like if teachers and administrators "coached" school like football. What would that look like?

1. Practice before Performance. Players never play in the game before they have had either a certain number of practices completed successfully or before they are "ready" to play the position. What if in school, we ensured they had practiced until they are "ready" for the big test or project?

2. Data-driven. Every week before a game, coaches pour over performance data from the opponent as well as their own team. What adjustments need to be made in practice to make sure everyone is ready for the game? Plays are changed, players work on new skills and adjust others. What if used student performance data on a daily basis to adjust our instruction and insure students are ready for the game?

3. Collaborative leadership. The head coach is ultimately responsible for the team success or defeat. But coaches have specific areas of expertise and areas of responsibility. They meet constantly to game plan and strategize for success. Coaches meet with position groups, offense, defense, special teams, etc. - all with the common goal to win football games, collaborate on ways to improve, and analyze how to fix problems. Everyone is accountable to the main goal. What if every teacher and principal collaborated daily or even weekly with various grade levels, contents, etc.. with the ultimate goal of improving student learning as the only focus?

4. Communication. When you look at the sidelines of any football game at any level, there is a group of coaches working feverishly to control the flow of the game. They wear audio headsets to communicate with other coaches in the press box. They hold laminated sheets full of strategies and resources to direct players during a game. They send explicit directions to the quarterback through their voice inside his helmet while other players watch hand signals. Players are constantly calling out to each other to let their teammates and coaches know what is going on with each play.

Obviously, there are many aspects of coaching football that are drastically different than education. I've always believed that coaching is the purest form of teaching, however. I can't see what would be wrong in drawing from one of America's favorite past times to help improve our profession. If kids could "score" in learning, that would be a win in my book.

No comments:

Post a Comment