By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

It's not about the tool… it’s about the conversation!

Technology is great when it works and even greater when there is an instructional coach in the mix.

Sure, shiny tools and “state of the art” equipment attract like a magnet. But the coaching conversations and interactions that initiate and sustain those dialogues are what make the difference in an effective instructional coaching environment.

The February 14 ASCD Express issue shares some thoughts about integrating technology and coaching. Of course, I like to think that instructional coaches are inclusive; that is, they offer a broad range of support in many different areas with technology as part of and not separate from the big picture. For instance, I wouldn’t take a book or primary source document to a teacher and start the conversation about that resource any more than I would take a type of software to start the conversation. The goals and needs must drive the conversation, not the tool for implementation.

Teachers need to be clear about what they want to teach, why they want to teach “it” and how they will deliver instruction; coaches need to understand the same things, what the teachers need in order to accomplish their goals, and together they discuss the various ways to achieve the intended outcomes. This conversation or series of conversations happen before talking about materials or technology tools. It’s really the “before the before” planning stage.

I believe that the coach’s tools are their ears, heart, and soul… all are needed to understand the myriad complexities of teaching and learning.

The article does clearly list six important elements for successful technology coaching integration: developing coaches, recognizing effective instruction, offering multiple kinds of support, understanding the coaching role, planning for sustainability, and being a learner. Certainly, all effective instructional coaching models need these component parts.

Where are you and your school in the technology/coaching integration support system?

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