Establish shared goals with educators, reflect on successes and continually improve coaching and teaching practice.
In Fall of 2021 I was able to engage in a peer-coaching exercise with a teaching colleague. In this exercise, we began by establishing a shared goal for improving a particular 6th grade lesson plan to better leverage technology use and address standards for digital literacy within a nonfiction writing unit. The needs and goals were essentially established by the coachee. When reflecting upon the coaching exercise, I noted that starting with a posture of “how can I best help/serve you” is essential. I also reflected that a quality coaching experience, especially when digital technology is in the mix, isn’t about suggesting flashy new tech add-ons. As has been oft-suggested in the literature pertaining to instructional design and tech integration, quality coaching isn’t about the tool(s) used; it’s first and foremost about good pedagogy. In this project, the actual curriculum suggestions in the lesson plan aren’t mind-blowing or novel where tech integration is concerned. Rather, the lesson suggestions create time/space to think about a gap in the unit curriculum that could better address student learning needs, as well as learning standards for both English/Language Arts and Ed Tech held by the school/district/state.
Speaking of reflection, the October 2021 post The Role of Reflection in Professional Learning & Development explores the essential role of reflection in any kind of adult learning context. Reflection creates space to situate learning in the big picture of work-based goals and the lifetime of learning that serves as the backdrop for any newly-acquired concept or skill.