Wednesday, July 6, 2016

What roles and responsibilities do peer coaches assume?

Part A: Coach Attributes 

The characteristics or qualities a coach brings to the job are critical to a coach’s success and will shape the roles a coach plays.
  1. Jot down your ideas on the qualities that would be desirable for a coach to possess.  You may also want to ask a peer to define a few desirable coach qualities.
  • positive / approachable
    • You will not ask someone for help whom you don't like or trust (I suppose trustworthy should be another characteristic), so a good coach should be approachable. When I think of the people I approach for advice, one commonality they all have is that they are positive people and creative problem solvers. (I suppose I could have added curious, or problem solver to this list as well).

  • risk taker - willing to try new ideas
    • A coach will encounter a wide range of lesson ideas -- not all will be in one's comfort zone. Teachers want to work with someone who is willing to try their ideas as well as give them ideas.

  • knowledgeable of tools as well as pedagogy
    • A coach will be up to date on the best tools for the job, and be aware of new tools that could be used. More than the technology, however, student learning should take precedent. A good coach will know this and always place student learning at the forefront.

  • patient
    • Another characteristic of a coach is patience. A coach understands that plans do not always turn out as expected. Coaches should be able to adjust as needed.
    • The skills and experience integrating technology can vary greatly between teachers. Coaches require patience with those who need it.

  • proactive
    • Coaches seek out ways to help others by making observations and offering suggestions. Often this will be without being asked. This can be in the form of looking at the curriculum map and gathering resources and ideas ahead of time.

  • good listener
    • Coaches are good listeners. 


  1. Review the qualities teachers who collaborated with coaches say strong coaches should possess.  Teachers say a successful peer coach:
    • Is able to build trust with peers.
    • Builds on what a teacher needs.
    • Is a team player.
    • Communicates well and listens to teachers.
    • Knows what teachers are doing in their classrooms.
    • Can show teachers how to replace what they are doing with something better, not just present technology as an add-on.
    • Is highly organized and plans well in advance with teachers.
    • Provides a safe, risk-taking environment and is non-threatening, non-judgmental, and accepting.
    • Is flexible.
    • Has enough depth and breadth of knowledge to help teachers who are at various stages of technology integration, including knowledge of appropriate instructional strategies.
    • Knows how to organize and structure a technology-rich classroom.
    • Is recognized by staff as a strong/outstanding teacher.

  1. After reviewing your list, and the ideas of coaches’ collaborating teachers identify one or two most important qualities of a strong coach.
    1. Communicates well and listens to teachers
    2. Knows what teachers are doing in their classrooms
  2. Keep your list of attributes handy as you define your roles as a coach and develop your coaching plan.

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