Visionary Leadership – Flattening the “5th Wall”

ISTE Coaching Standard 1 provides four benchmarks for technology coaches to inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment. My focus is on benchmarks b & d:

b. Contribute to the planning, development, communication and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school level

d. Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage and change process in schools and classrooms

My Question

How should I introduce peer coaching to my partner teacher (i.e. break down any previous conceptions about coaching as a hierarchical relationship)?

My Resolution

As I began reading Les Foltos’ Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, one thing became very clear: this style of coaching has the potential to revolutionize the professional learning environment for teachers. Yet, this is only true if a school has adopted this style of coaching. I am reading Foltos, and so I will become more proficient, as will the other members of my learning cohort in the Seattle Pacific University Digital Education Leadership Master’s program. While it would be ideal for our partner teachers at our respective schools to read Foltos’ book along with us, that might not be a realistic expectation. Before we can begin our work, we need our partner teacher to be comfortable and ready to engage in a peer coaching relationship. Foltos writes, “Coaches also need to understand that for many educators, working with a Peer Coach, who asks the peer to take risks as they collaborate to improve the teacher’s lessons and invite the coach to observe the teacher at work, is like asking that educator to be a participant on Fear Factor” (2013). How then, should we proceed?

As I explored my question, I found two articles that gave practical insights into how teachers can individually and collaboratively prepare to engage in a peer coaching relationship. These resources contain enough information to get started on the right path.  I used Piktochart to synthesize:

Works Cited

  1. Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  2. Jewett, P. & MacPhee, D. (2012). Adding collaborative peer coaching to our teaching identities. Retrieved from:
  3. WhyDev (2012). Peer coaching guidelines. Retrieved from:


  1. I LOVE the quote you include in your infographic about flattening our classroom walls. I totally agree that, if we are to ask our students to be vulnerable and take risks, we must do the same. A big step is sharing what we do in our classrooms with other teachers!

  2. Liz, I love the “5th Wall”, its so accurate and your infographic had it all!

  3. Collaboration is so important to improving teaching and learning. This topic of breaking down walls that separate teachers is critical. Graphics do a good job of explaining your ideas. Based on the comments above, I think we are all looking forward to hearing more about your experiences of breaking down walls as you implement coaching.

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