Coaching Corner Series: Putting it Into Practice: Resources and Strategies to Promote Anti-Bias Teaching and Home Visiting Practices
Joyce Escorcia: We're going to get started again. So, again, just going to kind of go through our slides quickly from the beginning. If you weren't able to hear, then this is going to be new. If you were on here before, then this is going to be a little bit of a repeat in the beginning. So, I am still Joyce Escorcia with the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning, and we thank you for joining us today for this kind of time together. And as we kind of dig a little deeper and talk about resources and strategies to promote anti-bias teaching and home-visiting practices ... And I am joined today by my rock star colleagues: Joquetta Taylor, Melisa Jaen, and Ashley Nemec. So, we thank you for them kind of being able to be with us today and for you guys taking your hour and a half to be with us today, so thank you for that.
And so today, again, just to review these again real quickly, we really want that by the end of this presentation that you're able to discuss the role that self-reflection plays in identifying personal biases that may influence the coach-coachee relationship, to really be able to consider how that collaborative partnership can act as that safe place to explore implicit bias and to promote anti-bias teaching practices and to identify resources and strategies that promote anti- bias practices and interactions with coachees, children, and families.
So, that's a lot, but we want you to walk away with those things so that you can support your coaches and others at your program. And then, again, just a reminder about the importance of that collaborative coaching partnership that we know, when talking about PBC, that it really all starts and happens within the context of that collaborative coaching partnership, that a collaborative partnership is really all about creating a safe space where honest, ongoing communication is key, so today we want to provide that same safe place to talk about how professional development that includes coaching and supports the use of anti-bias teaching and home-visiting practices to promote equity and inclusion. So, you do not have to know everything or even have all the answers in order to support equitable early learning opportunities for all children, but sometimes the answers really don't come to you until you reflect back on an experience. So, we invite you to engage with us, reflect, and learn together today.
And as we mentioned earlier, we know that there are many types of bias that shape our perspectives on the world, and so it's important that as we reflect to consider those other kinds of bias that may impact kind of our coaching efforts or even our coaching practice. So, we're going to spend some time today talking specifically about racial bias, so we're going to define that, and just to remember that you have a list of definitions included within the resources for the webinar. So, racial bias is a form of implicit bias, which refers to the attitudes and stereotypes regarding race that affect an individual's understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. So, we're going to go into more detail about implicit bias in the upcoming slides, so let's get the conversation started by watching a video explaining bias behaviors. So, due to the recent events, like those involving George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, it's more important than ever for us to learn about addressing, even talk about bias, including racial bias. As coaches and early learning professionals, it's important to bring awareness. It's important to increase our knowledge around equity, biases, and inclusion, especially in our work in supporting children and families.
We also want to mention that the Office of Head Start recently finished up a four-part webinar series that focused on advancing racial and ethnic equity in Head Start programs, so today we're going to be providing highlights from the OHS webinar series, and we're looking forward to really trying to continuing that conversation through today. So, again, we're going to kind of try to get things started by watching a short video. So, this video covers a sensitive topic, and it may bring up some feelings for you. And it's meant to, and that's OK. So, we're sharing it as an example of a way to kind of prompt self-reflection, initiate some discussion, and inspire kind of our collective recommitment to active anti-bias work. So, there are many good and free videos out there, kind of in the public domain, that could be used to kind of prompt reflection and discussion, but we encourage you to explore and find one that really fits the needs of your program.
So, we chose this one today because it fits with our discussion about racial bias, so it comes with a discussion guide, and that can be used to help kind of facilitate deeper conversation. And because it's really available in the public domain for non-commercial use, you're welcome to use it. And so, while we're not going to have time to kind of dig deep into this video, we really want to kind of model this strategy as something that you could do with your coachees and the other staff in your program. So, we're going to watch this video, and then we're going to have a short debrief.
[Video begins] [Music]
[Elevator bell dings] [Music]
[Footsteps approaching] [Music]
Man: All rise. [Music] [Video ends]
Joyce: Yes, so my initial response to the video was just frustration that it was still an issue in 2020 and just really anger that this gentleman had to kind of experience this on an ongoing basis. What about you, Joquetta?
Joquetta Taylor: Well, my first reaction to this video was, "Yeah, I know the feeling of receiving the biased look, you know, being a Black woman," and I kind of felt a little annoyed, but I didn't get very upset about it because I've had these unfortunate experiences happen far too often. I also thought about my friends and family members who I've observed getting those looks based off their appearance, whether it's skin color, their height – I mean their weight – a disability, gender, or even just the way that they dress. So, although I thought about myself as the receiver of the looks, I also saw myself as the sender of the looks, and this video caused me to reflect on my own behaviors, which makes me more aware of when I'm displaying biased behaviors, not only verbally but also through body language. So, for our audience, think about how you could use this video or similar videos related to bias with coachees or other staff to spark some similar discussions, and just as this video has sparked conversation and maybe some thoughts today, you can use it or others like it to engage in meaningful conversations about bias in your program. It's also important, when engaging in meaningful conversations about bias, whether you're using this video or other resources we've shared today, to recognize that these conversations may cause discomfort, defensiveness, sadness, anger, and some other emotions, especially now when feelings may be raw, and emotions may be high. These are conversations that must occur, but they must occur respectfully and with great care and sensitivity.
So, let's move on into, "What is bias?" What do we need to know about implicit and explicit bias, and how might these things impact our lives, what we do and with how we support coachees, children, and families? To identify and reflect on areas of implicit bias in our own lives and in our practice, we must first understand what bias is, both explicit and implicit. So, according to the current Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University, explicit bias is a type of bias that is processed at a conscious level, and it's when a person is very clear about his or her feelings and attitudes, and these behaviors are conducted with intent. So, let's check in with one of our NCECDTL experts, Dr. Walter Gilliam, who will discuss a little bit more about what is implicit bias.
Walter Gilliam: Implicit bias is the ... They're the biases that you have that you don't know that you have. They're the ways in which you look at individuals, the way in which you look at other people and reach conclusions or reach assumptions that you may not even know that you've reached, and as a result of that, you change your behavior.
Joquetta: If you want to hear more from Dr. Gilliam, you can watch the entire clip, which is located on the Equity and Bias Continuing Learning page of the Manager's Live on-demand event, and a link has been included in the resource list. So, on the surface, these biases appear harmless because we're able to suppress them when necessary. However, they are nonetheless problematic because they indirectly shape our social interactions with individuals based upon what we feel we already know about the individuals as a homogeneous demographic or population.
Melisa Jaen: So, Joquetta, you highlighted an important point here about implicit bias, and that was that we must first understand what implicit bias is in order to identify and reflect on various implicit bias that we might have. As a former coach, I wanted to take an opportunity to share a story I had related to this, and that in the role of a coach. I was supporting a teacher who was working on establishing strong, positive relationships with the children in her classroom. It was the beginning of the year, so she understood the importance of this. The teacher was a natural, so she didn't struggle with building those relationships with most of the children, but she was struggling with one particular child. He was an African American boy who was behaving in just ways that were challenging to her, and at first, we worked on strengthening those teaching practices that could help her build this relationship. She did one- on-one time. She worked on getting the child's positive attention. But still, she didn't have any luck, and after a couple of conversations with the teacher and after conducting an observation, I did notice that the other boys in the classroom who were also exhibiting similar behaviors did not seem to challenge her in the same way that this other child did. And so, this made me think. It made me wonder what it might be that was affecting her relationship with this child and why she might be responding to his behavior differently. So, after reflecting with the teacher, she did come to realize that she had been assuming all this time that the boy's behavior was intentional and personal. She also was able to recognize through our reflection that she didn't consider similar behaviors from the other boys to be challenging or particularly aggressive. So, this awareness made me pivot our focus to work on supporting her to understand implicit bias. We spent some time reflecting together on her personal experiences just in order for her to identify and begin to manage those personal biases she had.
As many of us at first, the teacher didn't think she had bias, but after we reflected on her earlier experiences in the classroom, she recognized and acknowledged that her assumption and belief that all African American boys were aggressive, challenging ... It influenced her actions towards this child. So, as you can imagine, this was a difficult position for both of us to be in. For one, the teacher was unaware of her own bias, and I didn't know what to do right away or what the right approach was, or I should take, right? However, we did have a strong coaching partnership, so it did make it easy to have this difficult conversation. And we also had that space for her to learn about implicit bias, for her to reflect, but also for her to identify that she has this bias and so that she could begin working on this and I can be there to support her. So, I shared this example. Again, it's a story, and, again, going to that point, we first need to understand what implicit bias is in order to reflect and work on them.
So, I'm sure many of you can relate to this story, as those answers don't come right away to us, and so I wanted to move us along, and as we see the work of addressing and unpacking the nuances of personal racial bias, it's not an easy step, or it's not simple. But this is a journey that requires deep self-reflection and also our willingness to be honest with ourselves, to be open about those things that we were taught to hide from others or to keep to ourselves. However, as we commit to do this work of addressing our personal biases, we do begin to heal. We start to have that grace with ourselves, and overall, we feel that sense of hope, but all of this must begin with self-reflection, right? With an open mind and an open space that we are safe, that others are safe to talk about this constructively. And so, recognizing that some of our feelings, your feelings, thoughts may be harmful to those different than yourselves, it doesn't make you a bad person. Also, understanding that what you learned or heard as a child from your family members that are harmful does not mean that your family members are bad either. More than anything, what this does confirm is the need for us to address this pervasive and important topic in our country, which is race. This work requires all of us, everyone to always bring their best selves to the communities, to all of those spaces that they come in and that they influence.
And so, one of the resources we shared with you was the Supporting the School Readiness and Success of African American Boys Project. For those of you that are not familiar with this document, the 10 Head Start Multicultural Principles are referenced throughout the document, and they were actually very helpful in informing the development of the document. And so, the goal of this document was to bring that awareness about the everyday challenges African American boys face, starting at a very young age. So, this is a great resource that you can either share or use with your coachees to help them dive into those deep reflections, conversations. There are some reflective activities that actually guide the coachees to think about how they can promote school readiness of African American boys. So, I just made a little click here. I wanted you to see that there are some activities that you can pull out, and what we see on this slide right here is the reflective activity. One way you can use this is to bring it into your TLC, which is the Together Teaching and Learning group coaching. You can bring this, as a TLC facilitator, to engage your participants, coachees in deep reflections about equity and race.
Again, this is just an example of how you could use that to support your coachees. So, I want to pause here and just ask or take a moment to have you share if any of you have used this resource, Supporting the School Readiness and Success of Young African American Boys Project. We want to hear how you use the resource, what your experience was, and as you're doing that, I'm going to move us along and review the other resource that we also shared during the webinar. I want to give you guys an opportunity to share, and I'll come back to that and read off some of those examples that you guys have shared. So, the other resource that we shared during the webinar was the – I'm trying to get here – the Supporting Diverse Populations within the Early Childhood Workforce resource. This is a resource that can be helpful for coaches to learn about the diverse populations or coachees that they work in. As well, this can be a great toolbox that you can actually share to support coachees, to support their cultural awareness of the families and children that they serve. We do encourage you to share these resources with other early childhood folks, education managers, anybody that you feel can benefit and learn how to best support African American boys in any early learning settings, as well as learn about how to work with the diverse populations they serve. Have this final resource that, again, we've talked a lot about the role that self-reflection plays in identifying their biases, so we did want to just point out this last resource that we shared with you before, and that is the Personal Self- Assessment of Anti-Bias Behavior, and this was developed by the Anti-Defamation League. And so, the checklist that this resource contains is a valuable tool that can allow for self-reflection on attitudes and behaviors for biases. This is a personal self-assessment that can help you, or it can help coachees to inform and also to reflect on your practice or their practice as well. This resource can also be used as part of your program's professional development efforts around bias, so we do encourage you to explore that a little further. This resource is also on that resource handout that we provided for this webinar.
And so, I wanted to bring in Joquetta because she did take this personal self-assessment, and I wanted her to share her personal experience with us in taking the self-assessment. So, Joquetta, can you share those with us?
Joquetta: Absolutely, Melisa. So, this self-assessment also helps you to determine how frequent you feel you may display those bias behaviors, since we all have biases, right? So, as I was completing the assessment, I found myself having to spend time reading these statements for understanding, and I needed more time reflecting on each statement to ensure I was being very honest with my responses. Now, at the end of this assessment, there is a space where you can create your goals based off of areas where you feel personal growth is needed. After completing the assessment, I actually ended up writing two goals for myself, just as a starting point to address where I felt I needed improvement. and I can say experiencing this reflective process really helped me to realize that personal reflections around my biases will be an ongoing, thoughtful process because, as we all know, changing behaviors take time. I will also be more conscious and aware of when and how I'm displaying bias behaviors, and I will need to ensure I take action to make those behavior changes.
So now, let's look at the importance of how a coach can support building a culture that supports equity and inclusion using collaborative partnership as a safe place to explore implicit bias and promote anti-bias teaching in home-visiting practices. Just as with establishing and supporting a culture of coaching, establishing a culture that supports equity, inclusion, and anti- racism and encourages anti-bias practices is built in two ways. There's program level, and there's coach-and-coachee level. At the program level, there's policies, coaching agreements, professional development planning, communication with coaches, coachees, and other program staff. So, for example, in the case of racial equity, you can ensure that recruitment and retention efforts are diverse, and you can assure that your outreach solicits a diverse group of coaches and doesn't unintentionally discourage people of color from applying to be a coach.
Specifically, when thinking about coaching at the coach-coachee level, there's collaborative partnership, ongoing communication, so you can ensure that your relationship offers a safe place to reflect upon implicit bias, both your own and those of your coachees. Now, depending on your role and the culture of your program, we recognize that everyone will have their own sphere of influence, So, it's easy to feel helpless when decisions are made that you feel you have no influence over, but it's important to realize and use the influence you have in terms of building a nurturing culture.
So, in the upcoming slides, we'll take some time to talk about the ways both levels contribute to a culture that supports equity and inclusion, but before we move on, I wanted to inform everyone that we have a resource from Barton Labs in our resource list if you want to learn more about equity versus equality. So, here is some ways both levels contribute to a culture that supports equity and inclusion. One is for programs to be thoughtful about their policies, planning and communication regarding equity and inclusion and the use of anti-bias teaching and home-visiting practices, so engaging appropriate management systems and communicating about equity and inclusion, setting up systems to implement and support those efforts, and engaging stakeholders in the process is so important to building this culture. As a coach, you can promote a culture of coaching that includes supporting equity and inclusion by entering into the coaching partnership with the posture of openness, support, and collaboration. And as always, it's important that all involved see coaching as a part of PD efforts to support equity and inclusion.
As a reminder, PBC is just one specific form of professional development. Know that many of the resources we shared today can and should be shared through other forms of professional development. Ongoing, intentional PD is essential in creating a safe space that encourages self- reflection and open mind to talk and engage in change. We know the work of supporting equity and inclusion is definitely not just the job of the coach or the education manager or even the director, but rather a collaborative effort of all stakeholders. So, I'm going to give this back to you, Melisa. Can you provide some additional information on steps coaches can take to contribute to a culture that supports equity and inclusion?
Melisa: I sure can, Joquetta. Thank you. Let me go ahead and get us started, and so I just wanted to check in and ask how everybody is holding on in there, and thank you for bearing with us. I just wanted to reassure you that before today's webinar ends, we are going to share those resources with you. I know my team back there is working hard to provide you with those links to the resources that we just shared, so again, thank you.
But at this point, we have shared with you lots of information, and at this point, you probably are feeling a little bit of information overload, right? And you might even feel a little bit anxious or even want to hear, "Well, what are or what is a concrete step, easy first step, or that easy win that you can take to support equity and inclusion within coaching?" So, we have a couple of ideas or a couple of concrete steps you can take. So, at the program level, you can update the coaching agreement so that it is inclusive of the language or that it has statements that support equity inclusion. We will discuss and actually share some examples of that language in the following slides, but updating this coaching agreement is not only an easy-to-implement step, but it is a powerful tool for coachees so that they can explore, so they can identify their own biases and also a space for them or an opportunity for them to express their own feelings and experiences with regards to equity and inclusion.
I know that many of you are familiar with the coaching agreements, but just as a reminder, the coaching agreement delineates, describes what coaching partners, that includes the coachee, the coach and the administrators commit to, to do as part of the coaching. And this agreement is signed by all coaching parties at the beginning of the partnership, so it's a clear ... It describes what is going to happen in the coaching partnership, and so supporting coaches to develop and actually use these coaching agreements is just another way for them to engage in this work with coachees and maintain that collaborative approach. And so, as we think about this work and this commitment between the coaching and the coaching partnership, we're probably wondering, "Well, why coaching agreements?" For one, the coaching agreement is an important way to support the culture of coaching because these agreements promote accountability. The agreement is signed, again, by all partners involved, and because it describes the responsibilities and rights, each party or each person agrees, will follow through with those responsibilities as outlined in that coaching partnership. And so, the other thing that a coaching partnership does is that it provides that transparency for what happens in the coaching partnership. All partners involved have a clear understanding on the coaching expectations. There's no hidden agendas. And also, the coaching agreement supports consistency. Having these agreements in place and having them include the expectation that each of the coaching partners improves that consistency of how coaching is going to happen, how it's going to be delivered across coaches as well as coaches and coachees. So, as I stated, we did include some examples in the coaching agreement, and you see the coaching agreement on the slide. We have shown you, or we have shared this with you in our past webinars, but we actually have updated it, and we have some sample statements language that supports equity, inclusion, and race. Before we look at those examples on the next couple of slides, I just wanted to share a couple of different ways that you can actually use this language. You can use this language as standard. You can use these statements or language as standard when you're developing these coaching agreements, and you can also include individualized language based on the needs of the coachees.
And so, let's go ahead and take a look at what those sample language that you can include in your coaching agreement. So, what we have here, I'm going to go ahead and click. Bear with me. All right. So, here on the slide, we have some sample agreements for the coach, and so these are something that you can include in your coaching agreement to address discussion that you will have around biases, race, and equity with a coachee. As you can see, we have examples of statements, and I'm going to read a couple of these, but you have this handout in the resource widget. You have this in the resource handout widget for you to reference later or throughout – when we finish this webinar. So, "I, as a coach, agree to self-reflect and seek feedback from others to remain aware of potential biases in my coaching work." Powerful statement. The other example we have here, "I as the coach agree to ask the coachee to reference their preference on receiving feedback and responding in ways when a potential equity issue is identified." And so, again, we have several examples here. I'm only going to review the two. We do ask ... and feel free to use these examples we're sharing with you today in your coaching agreement. However, we do highly recommend that you have discussions with each of your coachees. That includes home visitors if you're working with home visitors, infant- toddler teachers, Head Start teachers, again any of your coachees so that when you're developing this coaching agreement, you target equity, inclusion and race in a way that is respectful and responsive to their specific needs or the specific needs of your coachees and also that of that collaborative partnership that you have.
So, I want to move this along and share some examples that also can be included in your coaching agreement from the coachee's perspective. And so, on this slide, we have statements such as, "I, as a coach, agree to self-reflect and seek feedback from others to remain aware of potential biases in my home-visiting practices." Again, this is a specific statement that addresses home visitors. And the second statement, "I as a coach agree to inform the coach of my preferences on receiving feedback when a potential equity issue is identified." And again, feel free to use these examples just in case you need to help your coachee come up with some ideas of what they would like to include in the coaching agreement. As I mentioned, just make sure you're engaging your coachees in this discussion as you develop these coaching agreements. As a former coach, I do understand that these discussions are and might feel uncomfortable, but one thing that you might want to offer the teachers are stories of your experience as a teacher, a home visitor, or like the coaching story I shared earlier. It's just another way to let to the teachers know that we all hold biases in our work, and you can also let the coachees know that you're there as a resource for them to reflect, to problem solve, to have these discussions with them as they ... to help them address their biases. This is a work in progress. It's a journey, right? So, it is important to share with your coachees that this work is ongoing. And we've covered so much, and we talked about how to support coachees, and now we just want to take a minute and talk about you as a coach. How are you feeling? Are you feeling curious, overwhelmed, excited, or just saddened by the current events? Or are you feeling hopeful for the future? If you're like me, depending on the day, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Anyhow, no matter how you're feeling, it's just so, so important that as a coach, you feel supported in your role and that you have also a clear understanding of what that role is within the other professional development efforts that are taking place within your program. And so, we can't emphasize enough how important it is to make your needs known, to be the best coach that you can be, to give it your all. It's really important for you to reach out to get support, any trainings you need or resources that will help you grow in your role as a coach. And so, what kind of supports do you need? You might need professional development to build your knowledge or awareness related to equity, inclusion, or race. If you are looking to better understand what is bias and how to identify it in your own life and practice, you can use the resource we reviewed with you, the Look video that we shared on slide six. You can also look at that personal self-assessment of anti-bias behavior resource that we shared with you on slide 11. If you need resources to help you facilitate conversations about biases related to culture and disability, there's a book, "Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman. This is just another great book that you can use. Again, these resources we're sharing are on that list or that resource-list handout that we provided, but also I know my friends are working hard to add those resources for in the chat box. And also, if you wanted to have that deeper historical knowledge related to race and its modern impacts, a resource like "Talking About Race" from the National Museum of African American History and Culture can also be another resource. It can provide opportunities for you to better understand the historical foundation of race biases and even ... It's a great resource. It has great resources and strategies to support being antiracist.
Again, as a reminder, we have included those resources in that resource handout. Again, you can use this for your own PD. As a coach, you can use it to support your coachees, and you can also include it within your own program PD efforts that are happening in your program.
Remember, as Joquetta said earlier, you are not alone. This work is not just yours. Your work as a coach should be connected to the larger PD plan efforts of your program. And just a couple more key messages is that in our webinars we talk a lot about the need for coaches to receive ongoing support and also the importance of coaches to connect with a community of coaches, a place where they can come together with their peers, share ideas, learn about resources, brainstorm challenging situations and talk about issues that are relevant to the work such as those related to equity and inclusion. So, as we think about the supports, one way coaches can receive that ongoing support can be virtually. They can do this by participating in monthly community of practice or coaching network meetings. In our new reality, most of those meetings are happening virtually, and so if you are part of the coaching network, whether it's regional or state, check with them to see if there are any opportunities available virtually.
Anyhow, as you get involved in these community of practice or networks, any of the resources that we shared with you today can be used to help facilitate discussions related to equity and inclusion. They can also be helpful to help coaches learn about how they can support equity and inclusion in their role. And so, one idea that comes to my head as I'm thinking about this is having everyone in the COP, community of practice, take that personal self-assessment that we mentioned earlier and have a discussion about those questions and also possibly share any a-ha moments that they have. And so, we have ... So, again, that's just examples, and I know you've probably had a lot of ideas. If you are a coach ... If you want to share in the chat box, what kind of supports are you receiving that support equity and inclusion and race if you're a coach? If you are a coachee ... Or, sorry, if you're supporting coaches, what are some of the supports that you're providing or planning to provide coaches to support their capacity and knowledge related to equity and inclusion and race?
And so, as you're sharing your examples, there's a couple of other things that I want to share. Book clubs can be another way for coaches to come together to read books, engage in meaningful dialog. We've included some relevant books on that list that we provided you with all those resources. And lastly, if you're not part of MyPeers, this social platform provides, again, another opportunity for you to connect with coaches to receive supports from lots of peers from throughout the nation and from other states. And if you are able to meet in person, which many of you are not currently, reflective supervision is a wonderful form of support for coachees. And so, I just want to check back in the chat box to see if there's any examples that we have or that you are currently doing or working with. I don't currently see anything, but I want to move us along, so just feel free to add those in. Hopefully, we can share those out once our webinar ends, but again, I just want to thank you all again for sharing. I am going to hand this off to my colleagues who are going to share some coaching resources with you.
Ashley Nemec: Thanks, Melisa. I want to start out by sharing the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovation's Equity Guide. So, this is a great resource that coaches might consider. This guide is meant to help coaches identify when culturally responsive practices are in place just as much as it is to identify when they are not. So, although this resource is created for the context of a classroom environment, there are pages of resources linked within this document. There's lists of reflective questions and conversation-starters and strategies for supporting coaches and addressing concerns that are still useful for coaches considering who are coaching home visitors or family child care providers. It's also important to note that this equity guide should be used only when the strong collaborative partnership has been established between the coach and the coachee. Conversations around equity can be challenging, especially as coachees may not be ready to share their thoughts and perspectives without trusting their coach first. What's great about this resource, it guides the coach through a four-step process in addressing equity, so I'm going to quickly go through each step just to give you an idea of what that process looks like. So, the first step provides a series of reflective questions that this coach can use during observations and discussions with coachees related to equity and culturally responsive practice, and during the steps, coaches may also find practices that are already in place with their coachee. Step two guides the coach in reviewing data, and I'll share later on what some of those data sources might be that may bring up areas of concern to share with the coachee.
Joquetta, I know that had a data example you wanted to share. Can you tell us about when you were a coach, how you were able to identify an equity issue based on data?
Joquetta: Oh, yes. [Laughter] When I worked at a Head Start program as a coach, I remember reviewing childhood assessment data and found that the boys were consistently scoring lower than the girls, and of course, I went into detective mode trying to figure out why this was happening and decided to observe coachees' interactions with boys in their classrooms. Then, I met with coachees so that we actually could problem solve together, and asking reflective questions were key to helping coachees discover biased behaviors towards the boys, which as we all know, impacted the boys' outcome. Coachees also had the opportunity to view behaviors via video. It was very helpful for me as a coach because due to my curiosities about the data, it led me to the root cause of the issue, and most importantly, I became more comfortable with discussing biased behaviors with coachees and with guiding them through discovery of their biases similar to Melisa's experience.
Ashley: Thanks for sharing, Joquetta. It seems like data really supported your ability to have those conversations with the coachee objectively, and that's really important in helping a coachee to not feel judged during conversations around equity and practice. So, step three provides a list of those coaching resources that I talked about, and it includes a variety of ECLKC resources, and the final step provides a list of conversation starters that coaches may use in their reflection and feedback component with their coachee. So, for example, they might ask, "What practices are in your classroom that are culturally responsive?" or "Show me what you have. I'd like to hear more." I really love that this guide provides strategies that coaches can use to help coachees who may not be as open to addressing potential equity issues, so for example, offering to videotape an observation or sharing a resource, and it even provides kind of some scripted phrases that a coach might use to guide the coaches through that process. So, right now you can access the Coaching Equity Guide for free on the NCPMI website, and there's also a webinar linked in the resource handout if you'd like to know more about the guide. Many coaches may ask themselves, "How do I even go about initiating this process, or when to know to get the Coaching Equity Guide out to use?" So, again, making sure that collaborative partnership is really there and strong, but some indicators might be when there's a series or a pattern of challenging behavior with a single child in a classroom.
It's always a good idea to check in to see if there are issues in equity or bias present that might be impacting the behavior, so perhaps there's a past experience with a different child or with the family of the child that's triggering a response in the teacher that they're not even aware of, so this is really important to help education staff and programs to collect and view data all the time as part of their system, just like Joquetta talked about. If she didn't have that data and notice those patterns, she might have not have picked up on an equity issue, so it's really important to create those data systems with your programs and your coachees, and the
National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations has a free Behavior Incident System that will actually show when a potential equity issue is apparent based on the data collected both at the program and classroom levels. You might also have data from assessments, such as your TPOT, class huggers, tippy-toes, where there's a measurement for family engagement or interactions with children. So, for example, this is one page out of the equity guide, so in looking at family engagement with a coachee, they might find many ways in the TPOT or class in which the teacher is attempting to reach out to families, but in reviewing this question, it might come out that the teacher is not initiating as frequently with single-parent families, so then this would kind of be a little flag for the coach to really work on brainstorming ideas with the coachee on ways to engage with the single-parent families in their class. An observation of a specific incident may also be a catalyst for discussion on equity, so, for example, you might observe an incident in which a teacher responds to one child's challenging behavior by providing instruction on an acceptable alternative behavior, but then is more directive with another child and tells them what not to do and removes them from the situation, so observing something like this during an observation might lead you to then gather more data and information and ask the teacher questions about differences in their response. So, I know that we talked a lot about things that coaches can do in looking and supporting their coachees with equity, and I know that these discussions, we keep saying can be very uncomfortable, but data can really, really support making those conversations objective, and that could come from the equity alert and the Behavior Incident Report System or those observations we talked about.
And one thing I want to point out, if you are using observations as an indicator to address equity issues, make sure you've done multiple observations using a valid assessment tool like the TPOT or CLASS to have that data set up, and you really want to demonstrate that there's a pattern of responses or behavior in education staff rather than just information from a single observation. If you're interested in digging deeper into creating and maintaining a culture that supports equity and inclusion, you can check out the recent four-part webinar series from OHS that we've included a link for in our resource handout. And now we're going to kind of move back into that collaborative partnership, and Melisa really talked a lot about this when talking about the coaching agreement. I'll talk a little bit more about that, but just to remember that the purpose of the collaborative partnership is to provide that safe space between the coach and the coachee for the coachee to feel comfortable asking questions and discussing problems and getting support and trying out new ideas in a way that they're not feeling evaluated or judged. So, really, focusing on that strong collaborative partnership lays that foundation to create a space where coaches feel comfortable guiding coachees' reflections about their biases, and that coaches feel comfortable sharing their reflections and growth. So, one way might be, as a coach, you're reflecting and addressing your own biases when approaching individual partnerships. We might ask more open-ended questions to get to know their knowledge and beliefs and perspectives.
And then, Melisa talked about some examples that you can input in the coaching and agreement, and in addition to that, you might add some language that defines what the coachee actually needs to feel safe to share their opinions and ask questions and obtain feedback and try new skills. And then, we're just going to shift over to think about becoming familiar with families' cultural context. It's also really important, as a coach who supports home visitors and family child care providers, to think about helping those coachees to manage their own biases in working with so many different families, So, home visitors may be going into different neighborhoods, or maybe family child care providers are working with families' hectic schedules, and that might impact their judgments or interactions with families beforehand.
Before I hand it over to Joyce, I just want to quickly say, it's really important to remember when working with coachees to not only notify them when you notice a potential equity issue, but also to really point out when you find great examples of culturally responsive practice. It's a great way to support coachees' confidence and competence, address their buy-in with the process and increase the likelihood they'll continue to use that practice. So, I'm going to hand it over to Joyce now.
Joyce: Thanks, Ashley, and so in our last few minutes, we want to look at a few practices from the Effective Practice Guide and just kind of help you and kind of talk through how you might support a coachee in beginning to look at their implementation of practices through an equity lens. And so, now again we just want to spend a few minutes kind of talking about a few examples because I know when we were talking about doing this, that was the big question. It was like, OK, so what does it look like? What are the practices?" We just want to spend a few minutes there. And so just as a quick review, and just a reminder that practice-based coaching – because you may be new to our community here – is a cyclical process for supporting education staff use of effective teaching and home-visiting practices that lead to positive learning outcomes for children. And so, each component in the cycle is designed to inform on the actions taken by the coachee and the coach. I just kind of wanted to touch there, and we have additional information in your resource list if you want to know more about, "What is practice- based coaching?" And so here, let's start by looking at a practice from the HS ELOF Effective Practice Guides in sense of identity and belonging. So, as a reminder, the ELOF goal for the subdomain are for children to develop a sense of identity and belonging, so one way to do that is through intentional anti-bias instruction, so just imagine what it would feel like for a child to never see yourself represented in the books you read or never hear their language spoken in the class. So, what does that tell you about how she is valued or he is valued in the classroom or in that learning setting or in a family child care setting or during a home visit or socialization?
How does that contribute to the development of that child's identity?
So, now let's look at a specific practice used with infants and toddlers in a subdomain from the ELOF2GO app. So, the practice here that you see is to display ... Just a second. My screen went blurred. Just a second. Display family photo books and pictures and other familiar household items that create a welcoming homelike atmosphere and reflect the children's cultures and home languages. And so, just think about, like, what we could do with that. Like, what could that look like through an equity lens? So, you could kind of ... When we're thinking about it in a different setting, including kind of family child care or infant-toddler teacher, you think about the ways that they connect to the families in their classrooms to learn about the languages spoken at home, the activities, and the routines the family enjoys together, or to identify comfort items that the infant or toddler enjoys, so this information may help to kind of spark an idea about what to include in the classroom. So, when thinking about what to include, you can also support kind of that teacher-education step in thinking about helping them to get in the habit of asking families what they should include within their setting that represent their own culture. And so, again, that's just one kind of quick thing to think about there. So, we want to – kind of thinking about time – we want to move onto a practice, and here is an example from the ELOF@HOME app, so thinking about our home-visiting community and how we can unpack this through kind of a anti-bias lens. And so, what is good about the wording of this practice is that the attention it places on household items as it directs home visitors to work towards seeking and incorporating the family's perspective, but what might this look like? And so present ... I'm going to kind of tag Ashley because we were kind of talking about this practice about what it could look like, So, Ashley, did you want to share?
Ashley: Sure. I'll try to quickly share a what-not-to-do story and a to-do story. So, when I was a young early interventionist, I was also working as a math teacher at the same time, and I would get very excited to share some of the things from my classroom with the families that worked or that I got a great response from my students with. And I had one family in particular. They were an Indian background, and I came in with a sensory spin because her child had autism and loved sensory play. She was definitely a sensory seeker, but rather than kind of observing, I noticed, later on, they lived in an apartment setting, and so a lot of the neighborhood kids would come and play, and she loved to play with her big sister and play with them and play bubbles with them, that maybe rather than bringing my items in, maybe I could have done a better job of actually embedding it into the games that already were … [Inaudible]
Another thing ... A good example that I had more experience: I did work with a family who later told me she had been very nervous about having somebody come into the home. They were very spiritual. She identified as a medium, and one of her child's ISSP goals was to put things in and out of containers and working on that fine motor skill. And one day, I came over, and she was playing with her mom's crystals, and her mom said, "Oh, she loves to play with them." So, we ended up getting a wooden box, and her daughter would practice putting the crystals in and out, and she was very engaged and was able to meet that goal, but the mom later on shared, she was like, "Thank you for taking something from our home that is important to us, that my child is very interested in because it really made me feel comfortable having you here and working on that goal and realizing I didn't have to do anything special," So, I think it's just really important to make sure that you're working in the context of families because that can make or break your relationship.
Joyce: Thank you for sharing, Ashley, and what a great way to kind of begin to end our time together. Again, these are just some exemplar practices. There are many more included in both the ELOF@Home and the ELOF2GO app. So, I'm just inviting you to kind of dig in there, and again, refer to your resource list. Here, you'll see another resource that we've included in your resource list that includes some other exemplar practices. And so, this is from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations, and again, there's some practices that you see there, and there are others included within that resource. We wanted to mention that. Another resource that we wanted to highlight, again, is the recent four-part webinar serious from the Office of Head Start. All of the webinars are available on-demand there on the ECLKC, so we invite you to take a look and dig deeper for your own professional development or with those that are there with you. And, again, thank you again for joining us today for this journey of self- reflection. We know that this is just kind of scratching the surface, but again, we thank you for coming together with us to talk about some things that can maybe feel a little bit uncomfortable, but, again, thank you for joining us to reflect and to learn together. Thank you, and we will see you on MyPeers.Close
Addressing bias and racism in early childhood settings is important and complex work that brings up many questions for programs and for coaches. In this webinar, learn how coaches build collaborative partnerships that can act as a safe space for exploring implicit bias in teaching and home visiting practices. Explore the importance of self-examination of personal biases. Discover how these individual biases can influence the coaching relationship, goals and action planning, and giving and receiving feedback focused on practices. Find out about resources to use in coaching work to promote anti-bias teaching and home visiting practices and ways to ensure equitable early learning for all young children.
Note: The evaluation, certificate, and engagement tools mentioned in the video were for the participants of the live webinar and are no longer available. For information about webinars that will be broadcast live soon, visit Upcoming Events.