SMART Goal Book Review – Discourse and Reverberation

“When we commit to getting closer, we’re committing to eventually experiencing real, face-to-face conflict. Whether it’s over dinner, at work, or in the grocery line, in-person conflict is always hard and uncomfortable.”

Brené Brown, Dehumanizing Always Starts with Language


The words we use are so important. Words we choose can be used to improve culture or to worsen it. Dr. Raad’s thesis for creating effective discourse between coaches and teachers involves four strategies:

  • Speaking Tentatively
  • Reconceptualizing Problems
  • Communicating with Purpose
  • Fostering Intrinsic Motivation

Our discourse can improve when we take these four strategies and remember to use them as we meet with teachers. (If you want to read more about the strategies specifically, you’ll have to read the book.)

One of the best quotes I underlined as I was reading this chapter is here:

“Coaches are humbled and don’t believe they are the smartest of the most experienced people in the room…To gain new perspectives and knowledge, coaches surround themselves with people are different from them and who think differently than they do.” (p. 43)

Lang-Raad 2018


Feedback is information that supports the learner in reducing the gap between where the learner currently is and where the learner could go.

Hattie & Yates, 2014

Lang uses the word “reverberation” to describe the feedback cycle. He says it’s a “two-way oscillation of feedback” (emphasis mine). This means that the teacher and the coach are constantly in a state of communication back and forth, giving feedback throughout. On the Reverberation Cycle Tool, there exist three phases in which the teacher and coach can give each other feedback. The first is to address the Purpose (the why), second, the Problem (the what), and third, Proactive Planning (the how). After these three phases, there is a section for Reverberation, where the teacher and coach reflect on the cycle.  The cycle he lays out here reminds me of many coaching cycle variations I’ve seen in my practice.

Lastly, the “aha” moment from this chapter talked about Praise and Affirmation Versus Feedback. When we give specific, actionable feedback instead of saying, “Good job!” or “Nice work,” we help people move past the pleasantries and help teachers move forward.

A coach’s role is not only to empower a powerful feedback process but also to promote a culture of trust, transparency, vulnerability, and sincerity. (p. 61)

Lang-Raad, 2018

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