Coaches create a shared vision and culture for using technology to learn and accelerate transformation through the coaching process.
In July of 2021, the post Professional Development and Technology in Higher Education: What’s Working explored ways to engage in meaningful professional development (PD) activities in relation to technology use and ways in which instructional coaches may better serve educators through PD. In order for there to be a ‘shared vision and culture’ for tech use and in order for true adult learning and transformation to take place, coaches need to:
- Model what they’re teaching, including the use of relevant tech tools
- Help educators develop something they’ll use right away and engage them in active learning
- Seek out feedback
- Provide follow-up and opportunities for check-ins and improvements to the learning down the road
- Keep long-term goals in mind and avoid “fads”
- Time PD activities sensibly within the academic calendar
- Empower peer collaboration
The last of these points is particularly important for creating a shared vision and culture. Empowering peer collaboration was demonstrated through a peer-coaching exercise in which I was able to come alongside a 6th grade classroom teacher and assist in improving a lesson in order to better leverage technology to meet learning goals for a non-fiction writing unit. In this process, I worked in tandem with my coachee to create a vision for a desired outcome based on her particular classroom needs. As the coach, it was helpful to start with a posture of “how can I best help/serve you?” When teachers feel like you’ll ultimately be able to take things off their plate and make their lives easier/better (rather than add additional items for them to execute on), they are grateful and much more likely to fully invest in a transformative coaching experience. More often than not, teachers want to make improvements and changes to their teaching…they just need time and resources to make it happen.