Modelling is a powerful coaching practice because a demonstration builds a picture that is richer than words alone. If you have a coaching methodology, you may think that modelling has to be formal, planned in consultation with a teacher, and evaluated/debriefed to pull out the learning points. That is one approach to modelling, as part of a formal coaching process, but it’s not the only way.
Opportunities for Modelling
I’ve noticed that there are many opportunities for modelling when working with teachers. If a teacher asks you to lead a lesson, demonstrate a tool, or co-teach a lesson, you have an opportunity for modelling, and you can find ways for both you and the teacher to learn from the collaboration. Depending on the context, here are 3 activities that you can engage the teacher in:
- while students explore an app/approach for the first time, brainstorm a list of uses of the app with the teacher
- get feedback from the teacher about what worked well and what needs improvement from your lesson/demonstration (this only needs to take 5 minutes)
- discuss the affordances/limitations of the approach or tool that you used (possibly while students are working individually or in groups)
Benefits of Modelling
I think it’s beneficial for students to see their teachers discussing teaching and learning. We want them to engage in this same kind of practice, so that they personalize their own learning. Any collaboration between teachers has the potential to help each teacher improve, and models collaboration and decision-making for students.
I integrated the 3 teacher engagement activities into my work with teachers, to support their technology integration. I noticed that teachers gained confidence in using digital devices independently in the classroom, and started taking more risks with trying new ways of integrating technology. This showed me that modelling has a place in everyday teaching and learning, and it’s important to discuss the demonstration because it enhances teachers’ creativity and confidence.
How do you incorporate modelling as part of your teaching/coaching practice? I’d love to hear your stories.