Those not in the educational field often forget that teachers are continuous learners as well as their students. They learn from their colleagues, students, parents, and seek out professional development opportunities to continuously grow and lead by example. As education becomes more progressive, the need for coaching has grown and changed form. In a recent conversation with educational coach, Jorge Valenzuela, he provided advice on how to effectively coach educators during COVID-19.
Coaching Educators with Jorge Valenzuela
Jorge is an educational coach who created Lifelong Learning Defined, a consulting company that travels the country providing resources and professional development opportunities for schools and educators everywhere. For a company that relies heavily on travel and in-person interactions with educators, COVID-19 threw Jorge and his team into a frenzy. As he reflects on the past few months, he shares with educators within his coaching what he has learned and how they can use this advice to help educate their colleagues as well.
One way that Jorge overcame the challenge of not being able to conduct in-person coaching was that he moved to an online setting. Many professional development opportunities have moved to online settings and some have transformed into micro learnings that are at your own pace. This way Jorge was actually able to reach a far larger audience than he has before because he was not restricted to one school setting. In turn, Jorge had to coach educators in more of a tactical and general way than before since the specificity of the needs of one school had now transformed into the needs of many schools.
Jorge found himself working much more and finding new clients because of the flexibility that online coaching provided him.
Advice for Coaching Educators
1. Explore online tools
As stated before, so many professional development opportunities are offered in an online capacity that can be done from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. COVID-19 showed society that with today’s technology, many tasks can be reached and completed much easier from an online setting. Not only does the internet have endless resources but educators are able to reach anyone from anywhere in the world. Education can transform into a multinational concept that takes practices and educators from all over to create a profound educational system.
2. Be specific
Specificity is very important when coaching because educators don’t want to waste the small amount of extra time they have learning about a skill they are already proficient in. Have initial conversations and really understand the overall needs of the educator(s) so that the coaching that is provided is specific to them.
3. Build relationships
With specificity comes relationships. Having strong communication and relationships with the educators you are coaching can help you to make the lesson robust and fulfilling. Relationships allow coaches to know exactly where extra help is needed and where advancement can excel.
Finding the right balance and techniques to effectively coaches educators is an ongoing process and different for every coach involved. As education heads in a new direction, coaching with follow suit; but the 3 takeaways that will always apply are: explore your options, be specific, and build positive relationships.
Listen to the full conversation with Jorge Valenzuela on our Tackling Tech Podcast!
On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath speaks with Jorge Valenzuela, educational coach, curriculum specialist, and author of Rev Up Robotics. Jorge teaches workshops on Project-Based Learning, Computer Science, and STEM. He is hosting the Friday session of Progressive Learning Conference, Sept-21-25.
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