December 15, 2018 by Dr. Robbie Barber
How do you know you are a good #edtech coach? Who told you?
In some districts, the district level coaches go into the schools to teach a specific software that the district is promoting. You know that the work is happening because teachers are using that specific software. But is it a self-prophesizing type of work? If teachers are required to use the software, they will seek help to get it checked off. The district coach may or may not play an important role in providing that help, but the use of the software does not prove it.
Where does the feedback come in? When a teacher communicates with a student, the only way the teacher knows she has been successful with the communication is by receiving feedback in some form from the student (Okoli, 2017). Does it follow that the only way an #edtech coach know she is successful is by receiving some feedback from the teacher? Other than using the software in the classroom, what are other forms of feedback?
The Art of Feedback Teacher-to-Teacher (maybe a future book??) is not easy or obvious. If you have a great relationship with teachers and coaches, then the feedback may be informal, such as a teacher walking in and saying she still can’t do XYZ and could I help. But formal feedback has a place in this process too, asking what works, what doesn’t, what fits in which situation, etc.
To support my teachers, I offer a #TicklingTech session every Tuesday (yes, I love alliteration for Tickling Tech Tuesdays, TTT) where teachers can stop by and see in action some #edtech information to help them in the classroom. Quarterly, I send a survey and it is very simple:
- Here’s a list of the past quarter’s TTT. What did you like and use?
- What did you want to review?
- Any ideas for future TTT or something you need help with?
Granted, this does not ask a lot and I never ask for identifiers. But by the action of doing this, my way for asking for a formal assessment. I do not ask what did you NOT use, because I tell my teachers upfront that everything I show them does not fit in every classroom. They need to decide what works for their situation. From the feedback, I now add in a review week every quarter to give some an opportunity to walk in and simply request to go over a past item again. Can they do this informally? Of course! But sometimes, you need to organize it in a formal structure of feedback to allow the teacher to control their situation. I recommend you ask for feedback.
Okoli, A. C. (2017). Relating Communication Competence to Teaching Effectiveness : Implication for Teacher Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(3), 150–154.
Jones, W., & Dexter, S. (2014). How teachers learn: the roles of formal, informal, and independent learning. Educational Technology Research & Development, 62(3), 367–384. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-014-9337-6