Friday, October 14, 2011

Training VS Coaching

“Mom, we just got two iPads in my classroom.  The school is tech-ing up, but my teacher sure isn’t,” said my son.

Wow! What a profound observation for an elementary kid.  

Why is that the case?  Everyone went to the pre-school training, why aren't they tech-ing up?

The assumption that training = fluency of technology is a misconception.   Teachers attend trainings, often before or after school or on an in-service day, and then are expected to be ready to roll in the classroom in front of 30 pairs of tech savvy eyes the next day.  That would be like sending everyone to a basketball clinic and then expect all attendees to be able to play varsity ball.   Everyone was trained, right?  Why is no one on the court?

There is a huge difference between training and coaching.  Training gives everyone the big picture of what can be done and coaching is that day by day movement towards that end goal.  Without the constant coaching, full implementation of technology tools will not be achieved.

There can be no assumptions that people will just be excited and use a tech tool with out ample time and training to develop that digital comfort.  Coaching helps teachers take risks and step out of their comfort zone.  The coach is the safety net that allows them to explore the technology tool whether it be a grade book program, Google Docs, blogging, Twitter, etc.  The coach believes in them and helps them gain the confidence in a 1 on 1 environment, gradually building up to complete digital comfort.  

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