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Quick Coaching Sequence:  Posture and Tone

TXTS4 Leaders List

Quick Coaching Sequence: Posture and Tone

Kimberly St Clair

Here’s the scene:  You walk into Mr. Blueberry’s room as he flawlessly delivers a lesson. But watch out!  As Mr. Blueberry transitions to small group work, chaos breaks out. The confident deliverer of instruction has transformed into a slouching, soft-voiced “friend” who would like students to proceed quietly. Eureka!  It hits you Mr. Blueberry needs coaching on how to maintain his classroom leadership during transitions.

Following Paul Bambrick-Santoya’s coaching principles, you are armed with the tools to effectively and efficiently transform Mr. Blueberry into a consistent classroom leader.


Giving and receiving feedback on one’s posture and tone is not instinctive outside of theater, dance, or sports.  Thus, you will need to plan for breaking down strong posture and voice into bite-sized chunks:

  • “Square up” – stand-up straight (not lock-kneed!), hands relaxed by side, face students

  • “Stand Still” – cease movement, including walking and gesturing with hands

  • Strike a formal tone – calm, yet authoritative tone that “means business” without being harsh


As the coach, you will need to plan how you will introduce, model, and then provide an opportunity for on-the-spot practice and feedback, which is crucial to build muscle memory before using the sequence with students. 

1.    Identify the need with specific evidence from the walk-through.

2.    Show a short video clip of a teacher using the skill. (If available. If not, proceed to #4.)

3.     Ask Mr. Blueberry, “What do you notice about the teacher’s posture and tone? Why is it effective?”

4.     Label the skill:  Square up, stand still, strike a formal tone.

5.     Model how to square up, stand still, and strike a formal tone.  If needed, provide a non-example for comparison. Ask variation on questions from #3.

6.     Invite the teacher to practice on the spot, providing specific, immediate feedback until Mr. Blueberry begins to master the sequence.


  • Let Mr. Blueberry know you will be dropping by his room to provide feedback on this skill ONLY for the next week.

  • Agree on a non-verbal cue you might give him if he is not using square up, stand still, and strike a formal tone.

  • Provide informal feedback through a quick note, email, or conversation, especially to heap on the specific praise as to how Mr. Blueberry has transformed!

Bambrick-Santoyo, P. (2016). Get better faster: A 90-day plan for developing new teachers. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Brand.