Friday, December 16, 2011

The Coaching Process - asking questions

This year in my final year at my school I decided my personal goal would be to become more of a coach to our teachers.  I've often mentioned that the library and the tech department are at the heart of any school that is focused on inquiry, but that calling ourselves the IT department or the Library may detract from what we are really doing.  The I and the C stand for information and communication.  The T and the L don't stand for tech and library, but instead stand for teaching and learning.

The rationale behind shifting my role comes from the need to provide authentic learning experiences that encourage collaboration, creativity and innovation.  Many teachers want to create technology-rich learning environments but don't really know how to use technology to effectively promote student learning.  Coaching could be one way of reaching all teachers with meaningful professional development so that they are able to use technology as an effective tool for their own learning as well as to improve student learning.  As students are reaching out with their class blogs to other classes around the world, so our teachers are also starting to form PLNs to collaborate with other educators and share ideas.

For the first few months of the year I've wanted to investigate different coaching models.  In particular I'm interested in the difference between coaching heavy and coaching light.  Another model that was shared with me recently by one of our administrators was the 5 Step COACH model:

  1. Connect - building a safe environment of trust and openness
  2. Opportunities - helping teachers to set goals
  3. Action - planning the actions and the resources needed in order to succeed
  4. Challenge - understanding the potential barriers that could prevent the goals from being achieved
  5. Hear again - recap on what has been agreed and how and when to move forward
The important thing about coaching for me this year is that I want to get our teachers to the point where they are not just working with me to plan how technology can transform student learning, but that they are more self-directed and taking action themselves to embed technology in the learning.  

One of the things I'm coming to realize is that coaching is about asking questions, not about telling people how to do things.   Teachers have to come up with their own answers and solve their own problems for coaching to be successful in improving student learning in their classes.

Photo Credit: Questions by Russ Allison Loar  AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 

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