Tis the season…along every arterial median these days are multitudes of political signs with every catchy campaign slogan imaginable. There is one slogan during this campaign season I find relatable to this quarter’s class as we delve in to unpacking the ISTE Coaching Standards, specifically Standard 1: Visionary Leadership: Technology coaches inspire and participate in the development and implementation of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformational change throughout the instructional environment.
As Robert Marzano (2013) noted, “With a complex endeavor such as teaching, it is extremely difficult to reach and then maintain the highest level of performance without help” (p. 3) A peer coach can provide effective help. I wanted to explore more about what it takes to develop a strong peer coaching relationship.
Triggering Event Question:
We have the technology, we’re developing a working relationship, we are motivated. What next? What are the key elements that will help me succeed as a technology integration coach and my peer, as a digital learning instructor?
The big take-aways from Les Foltos’ research speaks to the relationship that develops between educator and peer coach.
1) It is personal AND professional. The importance of emotional intelligence is critical in maintaining a professional relationship. Without friendly rapport and a strong relationship, coaches can’t be effective. It’s key to check for cues of uncomfortable risk-taking vs. downright uncomfortable. Ask questions to gather information. Plan and prepare for meetings or teaching sessions.
2) Build capacity not dependence. By no means should the peer coach come off as the expert. No collaborating teacher wants a peer coach who will tell them what to do nor is the goal of the coaching relationship to create learned helplessness from the collaborating teacher. The goal is to develop mutual respect where the capacity to improve teaching and learning has strengthened. The focus on best practice integrating technology is critical also to creating the capacity for learning.
3) Building blocks of trust is essential. A relationship built with trust allows for a risk-taking environment that is non-threatening and will create opportunities for growth that will improve student learning.
Understanding the goals and learning outcomes of the collaborative relationship and abiding by spoken or established norms can create a successful relationship that is stronger together.
Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching: Unlocking the power of collaboration.
ISTE standards for coaches. (2011). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches
Marzano, R. J., Simms, J. A., Roy, T., Heflebower, T., & Warrick, P. B. (2013).Coaching classroom instruction. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research.