ITI Journal entry #1: Peer Coaching

(This post of mine originally appeared on my old blog, but with me resuming my post grad studies that I had to halt a short time into the course, I am now going to post it again.)


Professional development programs exist as a number of models and forms. The most popular would probably have to be the ‘inset’ or ‘workshop’, where the staff member goes off to an externally held workshop or class and receives what would normally be a crash course of some description, usually associated with a particular key learning area or subject. I’m no stranger to them. They offer what is often an expertly delivered day-long course in a given topic area, which I can then take back to school and feedback to those interested parties at school.

Obviously in this case, I benefit most because I was the one to attend the inset. Then a small percentage of the knowledge I have gained from attendance is then passed on to my colleagues that will also benefit from the information.

I can certainly see the weaknesses that lie within this style of professional development. The cost effectiveness of the delivery of information, time restrictions associated with feeding back the information and ultimately the reduction in benefit to students the further along that feeback is passed. There has to be a better way.

Insets definately have a place within any professional development program, but there also needs to be a culmination of other ways in how we as teachers pass on the new ideas and methodologies we encounter.

Peer Coaching, known of many other names, no doubt, is in my opinion an untapped resource rich in information, skills and pedagogy. We all do it to some extent already, but formalising its approach could definately give a boost to the sharing of ideas and skills amongst fellow teachers. I have always found that sharing resources and ideas amongst my peers to be of benefit not only to them, but also to me because of the follow-on effect when they start sharing what they come across as well. Culminated with the immediacy of sending links and resources over email or on shared spaces within the school intranet, it is not long before we are truly maximising what we know and find for the greater good of all those around us – and ultmately for the children we teach.

As such, there is no official form of peer coaching within my school, but a fair amount of “sharing” takes place, particularly amongst those staff that have regular use of email and the school intranet resources. Other forms of knowledge sharing take place in the form of weekly 1-hour insets on Monday afternoons where a different topic, issue or task is set upon. Regularly some of these insets are set aside for smaller group sessions, and feedback sessions from those staff that have been on some of the external insets and workshops.

By formalising the peer coaching ideals within my school, particularly in the area of ICT and its integration into the classroom, I feel that many more students will ultimately benefit from the skill development taking place amongst the staff. Unfortunately, the vast amount of technology available within the school it not used nearly enough for simply lack of skill and confidence with it. Peer Coaching will offer a non-threatening peer-to-peer means of sharing our own skills with other staff members who can then practice with the technologies throughout the school, make mistakes occasionally, but ultimately become more familiar and confident with its use.


1 comment so far

  1. Wan Chun on

    Yes, I totally agree with your statements on peer coaching. I am personally involved in coaching my colleagues in ICT & its integration in teaching and learning. I also give short courses in ICT such as using the spreadsheet, e-presentation etc. I find peer coaching is effective and it is very suitable for adult learning. They specify what they want to do in the classroom and I guide them towards achieving their objectives. In the final analysis, as a coach, I would like to see them as self-directed, competent and be independent in the usage of ICT in education. For peer coaching to be successful, the “coached” must be committed to work on what he/she wants to with ICT in her lesson plan.I am happy to see the impact it has on the coached’s students and colleagues.

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