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Amy D Diamond

Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education

Planning a Coaching Conversation


Assignment Purpose

The purpose of creating of the coaching conversation assignment was to provide a

platform to plan and analyze a possible conversation with another professional in order to

address issues. This assignment required you to apply active listening skills while attempting to

collaborate with others to achieve a specific goal for students. By planning the conversation,

including the emotions evoked during the conversation, we were able to analyze the conversation

and determine which strategies might be most effective in addressing issues among


Assignment Requirements

To begin the Coaching Conversation assignment, we were asked to select from five given

scenarios in which the educator was addressing various issues regarding a special education

student. After reviewing the scenario, we were expected to use a given template to structure a

conversation between the educator and the other professional. The conversation was expected to

include location, time, tone and context. The conversation was also expected to apply skills that

have been proven effective in collaboration and resolution of issues.

The first scenario a selected involved a paraprofessional who was allowing a kindergarten

student who receives special education services to snuggle in her lap during large group

instruction while sitting on the carpet. As the special education teacher, I needed to address this

with the paraprofessional due to the possible stigmas that may occur and keeping her from being

engaged in the instruction. When I planned the conversation, I attempted to utilize active

listening skills and powerful questions. I also incorporated real world issues that educators and
Amy D Diamond
Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education
Planning a Coaching Conversation

paraprofessionals are faced with, such as lack of time to communicate effectively and difficulty

finding mutual times to meet to discuss student goals and progress.

In the second scenario, I attempted to address an issue of inclusion in a general education

student. The general education teacher was unwittingly segregating the student by not providing

equal work space for the student and not attempting to include him in classroom discussions. He

was provided an assignment and sent to a kidney shaped table at the back of the room to work

through it with his paraprofessional. In this scenario, I also utilize active listening in order to

determine why this is occurring when the student is in the classroom. Determining the reason

the teacher is instructing the student in this manner will help to determine how to proceed in the

conversation. In the conversation I constructed, the teacher had the student work at the kidney

shaped table at the back due to lack of space for his wheelchair at a typical desk. This is a simple

issue that is easy to resolve. I use feedback and powerful questions to help the teacher see how

this simple act is contributing to excluding the student and is easily resolved.

Revision and Application

In feedback received from my instructor, I did not receive full credit due to not

addressing the specific issue during my initial conversation. I argue that this conversation was

helping to build rapport and trust with this paraprofessional who supports the kindergarten

classroom that one of my students is in. Our course referred to the importance of building a

relationship and trust with the professional in order to communicate effectively. I felt that was

what I was doing in the first conversation and suggested an activity for us to participate in during

our next meeting that would give me a platform to voice my concerns regarding the issue.

This was an activity that I took a lot away from. The process of writing out the specific

dialogue helped to examine my approach in conversations. The process also helped me to

Amy D Diamond
Family and Interprofessional Collaboration in Special Education
Planning a Coaching Conversation

consider the context of situations and apply my experience as an educator and a paraprofessional.

Even within creating the dialogue, I came to moments which made me consider my professional

actions. I applied powerful questions to analyze whether or not I had been clear and specific

regarding student goals and responsibilities and expectations of the paraprofessional. This

exercise also helped me to analyze if my feedback was truly effective or simply empty praise.

This exercise prompted me to analyze my current expectations of my current para. I composed a

list of specific and implied duties of my para. I had my para do the same thing and then we

compared our lists to prompt discussion regarding responsibilities in the classroom. This

exercise helped me to clarify the responsibilities that I wanted my parar to specifically address

and when and where they were to be addressed.

This year, in my current setting, I began co teaching in the afternoon with a general

education teacher and a different paraprofessional than I work with in the morning. This course

has helped me to be focus on building that ThirdSpace concept with my co teacher and new para.

It has also helped me to trust the process of relationship building in order to have a more

productive partnership with my co teacher. I struggle sometimes to communicate effectively and

I have been applying the concepts of powerful questions to help clarify and communicate. I have

also been using powerful questions to help evoke more complex responses from my students.

Communicating effectively is one area that I feel I need to continue to improve in.