Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Enter as a consultant and leave as a coach

Over the past few days I've been doing a Cognitive Coaching workshop with Bill and Ochan Powell at the American School in London.  While I will probably write many posts over the next few days about my learning at this workshop, I wanted to start with reflecting on my current role and how it will change next year as I take on a new position of Director of Educational Technology at ASB.

We talked today about 4 support functions, only one of which is cognitive coaching (the others are collaborating, consulting and evaluating).  As I reflected on my role over the past 2 years I felt it was more a combination between collaboration and consulting.  As Tech Coordinator I would attend both the grade level PYP meetings so that I could understand the curriculum and the content that each grade was teaching, and I would also have tech meetings where I would be called upon to find new tools, share how to use these tools, discuss pedagogy, provide technical assistance and discuss both the NETS-S and NETS-T standards.  I was also very much of a collaborator, co-planning and often co-teaching with the homeroom teachers.  We discussed different ideas and approaches as we considered how technology could support student inquiry.

One thing I felt I never did was to act as an evaluator.   I did help teachers to collect artifacts of student learning that matched with the NETS-S standards, and although we did discuss at which level of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy these artifacts fell, and in addition I did discuss with teachers their tech goals for the year based on the NETS-T standards (this year we focused on Standard 2 about designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments), I was not responsible for evaluating whether teachers met their goal.  My job was to help them to move forward but not to judge how far they went.

Now I'm adding a new dimension to my role.  Cognitive coaching will allow me to transform the effectiveness of what teacher are doing but the learning they engage in will be self-directed.  I will help them to consider a menu of suggestions and to discuss with them which one looks best for them as they move forward with integrating technology into their teaching.  I think that cognitive coaching will help me to make a shift in my role - that I originally approached teachers more as a consultant to help them figure out what to do and how to do it, but that now I will be helping them to think in new ways to integrate technology.

Photo Credit: gripso_banana_prune via Compfight cc

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