Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

04.22.13Reading Up on Wooden

woodenMy colleague Joaquin Hernandez has been reading back through some studies on John Wooden’s coaching.

Here are four interesting points from Joaquin’s notes. The last one is my favorite:

When Correcting, Sandwich the Model (M+, M-, M+): When you spot an error, stop the player and model how to perform the move correctly (M+), show them how they did it (M-), and then model the move correctly once more (M+). Coincidentally, this takes advantage of the “primacy” and “recency” effects in social science.

4-Second Feedback: Deliver feedback in 4 second chunks through live coaching (and 20-second chunks after a drill/practice is over)

Ratio for Top Performers versus Novices: Wooden ascribed to the belief that you should give more consistent praise to the “bench” players and less praise to “starters” because “starters” get positive feedback through many avenues whereas the “bench” players get less.

Precise Constructive Can Be Positive: Wooden delivered constructive feedback to players 75% of the time, usually in the form of live coaching during practice. Through interviews with players, they said they still felt it was positive because it was actionable and Described the Solution. They viewed it as not being personal, but as his way of showing he cares about their growth. Wooden also called this kind of constructive feedback as being “positive” in nature, even though he delivered it without any tonal inflections.

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6 Responses to “Reading Up on Wooden”

  1. Janice Smith
    April 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I think this post reinforces the importance of PD being delivered as ‘practice’, with teaching drills, as opposed to traditional sit & get. Without this time, it is nearly impossible to give the kind of live, immediate feedback described here. It be done in game time situations in modified ways (the live coaching model), it is nearly impossible to integrate M+, M-, M+ without eating significant chunks of time from a lesson, as well as creating potentially confusing situations for students. In practice, however, this becomes totally doable, combined with some post-game feedback in larger chunks.

    The piece I still find myself wondering about as someone who is responsible for designing this kind of PD is where certain teaching skills & mindsets fit. This model works well for clear execution techniques (Strong Voice, 100%, Pepper, Cold Call, etc.), but what are the most productive & actionable ways to give feedback on the bigger pieces like planning & structure (Unit Plans/Lesson Plans), teacher mindsets that impact this planning (and execution), class & school culture, etc?

  2. Doug_Lemov
    April 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Great question. We actually do a fair amount of practice with our planning training. We, for example, give people lesson or unit plans and have them mark them up with changes and then compare with a partner or group. Or bring their own lesson plans, make adaptations to embed a certain idea–including more writing, say–and then get feedback from peers and revise. And then finally you draft your lesson plans and unit plans in advance and get feedback on them from your department chair. Which is interesting because most schools that have teachers turn in lesson or unit plans do so as an accountability tool–“I want to make sure you’re doing them”–which is fine… but making them a performacne tool–“i want to help you build the best plans you can”–is even better.
    Lastly you’d be surprised at some of the things our teachers practice… ie they pari up and practice asking higher order questions in response to a student answer during their lesson , etc.

  3. Frank
    April 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Found this post very helpful. Thank you. I’m a coach and classroom teacher, and I can see how these ideas can work in both settings, especially the 3rd and 4th.

  4. Riley Bauling
    April 22, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Love this post. Doug, can you share what books/studies Joaquin has read through? Would love to dig in!

  5. James
    April 23, 2013 at 2:42 am

    Great stuff! I am a huge Wooden fan.

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