Triggering Event: What skills and characteristics help draw learning partners to technology coaches?
ISTE-C Standard 1: Visionary Leadership
b. Contribute to the planning, development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of technology-infused strategic plans at the district and school levels
d. Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms
While being introduced to our new EDTC 6105 unit, I was initaially struck by the new approach to peer coaching, viewing the person you are coaching as a learning partner and a peer. I have been guilty of overzealously jumping into trainings with the “right” answer, rather than encouraging my learning partner to take ownership of his or her learning through inquiry (Foltos, 2011). I also appreciated the very clear definition of what a peer coach is, and was curious about what key skills and characteristics a coach needed to draw others to them and make their time together worthwhile.
A peer coach is teacher leader who assists a peer to improve standards-based instruction by supporting the peer’s efforts to actively engage students in 21st century learning activities (Foltos, 2011).
I was really struck by Les’s three-legged chair metaphor in the EDTC 6105 course introduction YouTube video with David. His metaphor summarized what skills and characteristics a coach needs to draw learning partners in for a successful partnership. He describes the 1st leg of the stool as the key coaching skills (communication and collaboration), the 2nd leg as deep understanding of best practices of how technology enriches, enables, and accelerates learning, and the 3rd leg as an understanding of lesson design to make activities more engaging, active, and real-world.
I wanted to know a little more about how a coach should approach an the beginning of a partnership with a learning partner, as I have too zealously jumped in with having the “right” answer without taking time to learn from or work with my peer. This inquiry led me to my second article, “The Secret to Great Coaching”, (also written by Les Foltos) which highlights inquiry to encourage the learning partner to take ownership of the learning process. Inquiry could also lead to change at the district and school level to help implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology. I appreciated that the article gave some probing sentence starters from Meyer et al., 2011, such as
- “You said …; have you ever thought about …?
- Why …?
- What might the next step be?
- Are there other strategies that you could use to …?”