By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Compliance vs. engagement… so what does that mean? I actually think of these terms in similar ways as I do about cooperation vs. collaboration. Sure, compliance is agreement but is that all we want from our work with teachers? Is that all they want when working with their students? 

I don’t think so… I think instructional coaches want to engage the teachers with whom they work in productive, analytical, and thought-provoking conversations that yield changes in practice. I think they want more than teachers who just cooperate; I think they want to work with teachers in ways that promote questioning, quiet disruption, and inquiry.

The coaches that I’ve met want to ensure that their work with teachers is relevant, tied to practice, demanding, and at the same time, culturally sensitive, differentiated according to need, and creates a culture of learning for all students. They want to take ownership and be the architects of their own learning; they want to help build their students’ capacity as learners as well.

So, is that compliance or is that engagement? How do I help teachers move from compliance to engagement so that their students can move from simple obedience to premediated, purposeful learning? How do coaches navigate their coaching roles when they are forced to use a checklist and be the “enforcer” or compliance “police”?

I think compliance means that the group goes along with the “flavor of the day” and hope that “this, too, shall pass.” I think engagement means that each stakeholder has an integral part in creating a shared understanding, learning, and support system because the collective and individual responsibilities are recognized.

What do you think?

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