3a – Summary & Evidence

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3a. Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.

As coaches, we have the opportunity to model classroom management and collaborative learning strategies every time we do a training, offer an online learning opportunity or model a lesson in the classroom. Often, adults are more challenging to work with in terms of classroom management. They do not always act in ways they would expect their own students to act. If I am working with a group for a particular project or objective over the course of time, I will always use one of the first few meetings to set norms. The procedural norms are generally easy to determine and most groups will agree to norms about timeliness, etiquette and staying on task. We go back to these at the beginning of the first few meetings and sometimes revisit them later if necessary.

The norms I feel are the most important to establish with learning groups, however, is what Foltos (2013) refers to as collaborative norms which “shape our conversations in ways that build trust and respect; they define accountability and build capacity.” These norms help the group move conversations forward within a group culture that values openness and respect for each others ideas and abilities. It also helps build a learning community. When we add in the challenge of creating online learning environments where learners are not always physically in the same rooms it is essential to build that same community feeling online. In my post about Building Community Online, I talked about needing to be clear about purpose within learning communities. If it is not clear why a group has convened, or what participants in a training are expected to learn, the coach can lose control over the learning environment, both digital and physical. All training should have a clear Why (the purpose), How (the process) and What (the result). If we want to shift to a more learner-centered model of learning with digital tools we need to make those three things clear from the start, no matter what environment we are teaching in.

One last collaborative learning strategy we can model for our teachers is the use of adult learning strategies. In many ways, as I pointed out in Developing Human Capacity in Teacher Leaders, it is not that different than teaching students. Adults want choice and multiple ways of accessing learning just like their students but they do come to the table with much more experience and background knowledge to pull from and often have a clearer purpose for their learning. What we can do as coaches is build both online and in person training that capitalizes on technology to provide that choice within a digital environment and offers opportunities to collaborate electronically so we can model best practices.

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References

Foltos, L. (2013). Peer coaching (p. 81). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

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