Training Method Options, Part 5: Live On-Site Professional Development – Demonstration and Coaching Day

Jul 08, 2022 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Over the course of my 34-year career as a classroom teacher, I participated in scores of staff development days, where my colleagues and I were trained in new instructional strategies or learned to use whatever textbook series was being adopted that year. Our brains overloaded with new learning, and under pressure from expectations for immediate success, we would return to our classrooms to try to make it all work somehow, often with little support or coaching. The one exception was our training in Structure and Style.

After Andrew Pudewa trained our district’s fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers in the Structure and Style method in 2001, he returned multiple times over the next several years to demonstrate lessons in our classrooms. Rather than the usual teacher grumblings of, “Well, this seems good in theory, but will it work in my classroom?” we were able to see the process in action with our own students. Andrew’s modeling of the structural models and stylistic techniques and his follow-up question and answer sessions with us made a huge difference in teachers’ buy-in and, ultimately, our district’s success because we witnessed our students’ engagement with our own eyes. With Andrew’s demonstration lessons, theory became reality. “We can do this!

How does it work?

The Demonstration and Coaching Day supports classroom teachers and administrators during a school’s implementation of the Structure and Style methodology. This day can take place prior to the initial training to gain buy-in from the teachers or after the initial training—whether you choose live or video training—to model what the process looks like in the classroom. An IEW Implementation Coach visits your school to demonstrate the writing methods with your students while teachers observe. In addition to the demonstrations, time is provided for questions and coaching. Optimally, this is scheduled immediately following each demonstration lesson but can also be scheduled for an after-school staff meeting if needed.

What are the benefits of the Demonstration and Coaching Day?

  1. It provides live, concrete modeling of the structural methods described in the Structure and Style seminar.

  2. It demonstrates how the same Structure and Style methodology is applied to different grade levels—the terminology and process remain consistent while the expectations and level of challenge are tailored to each grade level.

  3. Teachers and administrators witness firsthand the engagement of their students.

  4. The demonstrations can be geared to the individual needs of the teachers or grade levels. A specific unit, stylistic technique, or issue can be requested. Your teachers are free to choose any lesson or stylistic technique they would like to see demonstrated in their classroom.

  5. Demonstration Days support administrators by providing teachers the coaching needed to learn new teaching skills. The Demonstration Day shows your teachers that outstanding writing instruction is important and that effective professional development is ongoing and not a one-shot deal. This ultimately benefits your students most of all.

  6. Scheduling a Demonstration and Coaching Day adds an additional layer of accountability for your teachers to teach the Structure and Style method to the best of their ability during the initial weeks or months of implementation. When teachers know that IEW’s Implementation Coach will be returning to their classrooms to demonstrate a lesson, they know they will be expected to have made a certain amount of progress.

  7. Scheduling the question and answer session following each lesson benefits the teachers because the questions and discussions are specifically geared to their students and grade levels. This makes for a more focused, effective coaching experience for each teacher, and as a result they feel encouraged, supported, and more confident in their ability to teach writing well.

  8. For schools in year two or more in using IEW’s method, your Implementation Coach can tailor demonstration lessons to model how to teach the Structure and Style process using alternative source texts and content area curriculum, how to encourage students to use better, more academic stylistic techniques and advanced techniques, and how to differentiate a lesson or checklist. As a result IEW’s live coaching guides your experienced teachers to enhance and fine-tune their instructional skills.

  9. After the Demonstration Day is complete, the Implementation Coach consults with the administrator to provide feedback about teacher progress (Who is doing well? Who needs additional support? Which teachers are potential mentors?) and makes recommendations about potential next steps.

What are the challenges to consider?

  1. Live professional development may be too expensive for small schools or those with a limited budget for training. However, private schools, charter schools, and small school districts may make use of funding through their local school district or county office of education or may seek out grant money for professional development. If your budget is limited, consider completing the training seminar by DVD or video streaming and utilizing your professional development dollars for a Demonstration and Coaching Day with IEW.

  2. The trainer’s travel expenses are not included in the seminar price.

  3. The day requires some advance planning, but your Implementation Coach will assist you by providing emailed instructions approximately four weeks prior to the event, including templates to create a schedule. You will be asked to provide contact information for the teachers in whose classrooms the demonstrations will take place. The Implementation Coach will then contact each teacher to coordinate the specific details for the lesson to be demonstrated.

  4. In larger schools with multiple classrooms per grade level, a “roving” substitute teacher or two may need to cover classrooms so that several teachers can observe a demonstration. However, many schools find creative ways to make sure that additional teachers are freed up to observe a lesson in a colleague’s classroom.

As an administrator, when you choose a live Demonstration and Coaching Day for your school, your IEW Implementation Coach is your partner in supporting your teachers as they learn to teach Structure and Style effectively in their classrooms. No matter where each teacher is along the pathway to becoming a master writing teacher, you are making a powerful investment in shepherding them along the way.

Please contact your school’s Educational Consultant for more information about Demonstration Days and how to schedule one for your school or school district. If you don’t have an Educational Consultant, call 800.856.5815, and ask to speak to someone in our Schools Division.


IEW’s Educational Consultants

Sharyn Staggers

Beth O’Connor

Schools Division Director Educational Consultant

Senior Educational Consultant

800.856.5815 x5510

800.856.5815 x5506


Andrea Pewthers

Evan Smith

Educational Consultant

Educational Consultant

800.856.5815 x5501

800.856.5815 x5040


Other blogs in this series:

Training Option 1: Video Training through Individual Streaming

Training Option 2: Group Training with DVDs or Video Streaming

Training Option 3A: Virtual Primary Writing with Structure and Style Writing Workshop

Training Option 3B: Virtual Structure and Style Writing Workshop for Teachers 3-12

Training Option 4A: Live On-Site Professional Development – Primary Writing with Structure and Style Two-Day Seminar for Grades K–2

Training Option 4B: Live On-Site Professional Development – Teaching Writing: Structure and Style Two-Day Seminar for Grades 3–12

Jean brings 34 years of classroom experience to IEW, having taught grades 1–6 in New York, Virginia, and in California, where she taught sixth-grade language arts in the Rocklin Unified School District. She was introduced to IEW in 2001 when a colleague shared Student Writing Intensive videos at weekly school staff meetings. As a result of student progress and teacher enthusiasm at her school, RUSD brought Andrew Pudewa to Rocklin many times over the next several years to train district teachers, resulting in improved student writing and test scores district-wide. Named Rocklin’s “Elementary Teacher of the Year” in 2001, Jean was also included in the 2004 and 2005 editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

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