This course helped me grow as a technology coach. I realized quite some time ago that effective professional learning requires follow up support. Job-embedded coaching is an excellent way to provide the ongoing support teachers need to effectively implement new strategies. The foundation for this course was Jim Knight’s approach to instructional coaching developed at the University of Kansas Center for Research and Learning. His work provides a framework for coaching that is built on enrolling teachers, building an emotional connection, encouraging implementation through modeling and observing, and partnering with leadership. I learned firsthand through my experience coaching a peer how important it is to build that emotional connection with your colleague. Coaching is a partnership in which you learn and grow together. It is important to allow teachers you are working with to have a voice in the coaching process because this builds buy in from them and allows the coach to meet their most pressing needs.
Another helpful resource this course provided was the Standards for Professional Learning created by Learning Forward. These standards provide a guide to understand what is required to create effective professional learning. I used these standards as I designed my own professional learning workshop. Through this experience, I realized how much went into the planning and creation of professional learning. I had to consider the learning design and understand the participants who would be attending. I created supportive materials and planned activities that would be useful to them while also teaching them how to use the technology tools. In addition, I created a tool to evaluate the workshop in order to determine its effectiveness and identify follow up support that may be needed. The experience helped me better understand the process of planning and executing effective professional learning.
Finally, the work I completed in this course gave me an opportunity to work with members of the leadership team at my school. I worked closely with our Associate Head of School of Academics to better understand how professional learning opportunities are planned and budgeted. Through my conversations with her, I was able to evaluate professional learning at my school by completing a GAPSS analysis. I realized that as a technology coach it is vital to work with school leadership in order to identify areas of need and enact change.