Across the world today, students are seen as active participants in their education and academic development. No longer are students and their families content with the role of a passive receptor of information. Parents want their children to do more than just follow directions and acquire information in school. They want their children to engage actively in their education, to be motivated to learn independently.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done to make that ideal a reality for all students, everywhere, Educational Coaching (EC) can help the global educational community pursue a more active, responsible and enjoyable way of teaching and learning.
Foundational Principles of Educational Coaching
How does educational coaching suggest that educators make learning more autonomous, motivating and encouraging? Students must:
- Identify their strengths and talents.
- Be mindful of what they want to improve.
- Establish objectives and goals related to the work in question. (Finishing a report before lunch, work an hour later each day they so I don’t have to take work home, etc.)
- Develop a real sense of responsibility to find and apply strategies that work for them, including self-advocacy and asking for help.
- Be able (or learn how) to assimilate information in an enjoyable way.
To create a culture of independence and collaboration, and help our students improve, their learning environment must be emotionally optimal. In other words, it must include empathy, praise, respect, joy and motivation!
Educational Coaching Happens IN School
Educational Coaching takes the entire learning community into account:
- The school’s management, administration, and staff
- The teachers (who are the essential part for the process, because, besides teaching itself, they are the ones in charge of supporting students in the learning process while respecting each student’s individuality and supporting the development of the student’s potential)
- The students themselves
- Parents and caretakers
In Peru, we train Educational Coaches with a specialization degree, and they incorporate the principles of Educational Coaching in many ways:
- A coaching department at the school, where they do personal coaching sessions for students and work around the main issues and problems they face (whether they are of an educational nature, a social nature, a family issue or other)
- Personal coaching sessions for teachers who request them (during school hours)
- Coaching workshops for kids, teens and adolescents (outside of school hours)
- Training in the fundamental guidelines of Educational Coaching for parents, teachers, educators and also for the school’s administration and management staff
How does Educational Coaching Help Students?
Coaches help students generate metacognitive awareness – consciousness of their own learning process – and assume responsibility for their own decisions. Following that shift, they work with students on personal and academic development, improvement of executive function (including emotional self-control, activation, time management, organization, sustained effort, self-monitoring, and others), and adaptability to the norms and regulations of educational institutions.
Strengthening executive function is a fundamental part of the process. This important factor comes from the work done in coaching for ADHD, because students with ADHD have problems with some (or many) of them. While all students benefit from this aspect of the work — since every human been has areas in which to improve (no matter who we are, nobody is perfect!) – it is particularly useful for students with ADHD.
How is Educational Coaching Different from ADHD Coaching?
Educational coaching incorporates the central tenet of coaching for ADHD: support for the development of executive functions. The difference between them is that educational coaching takes place IN an educational institution.
To be clear on this point, the focus of both educational and ADHD coaching is not limited to academics or executive function. Both have an integral approach, and their main goal is the coachee’s overall well-being. If a student, teacher or anyone else can acknowledge themselves through their abilities, work with enthusiasm on some of their issues and be mindful of their own motivations, their performance and development will grow exponentially. With it, their joy and satisfaction will keep them moving forward. The process turns into a virtuous cycle that will keep people growing and improving.
At the APDA, we create a culture around educational coaching because we believe (based on evidence from work done in Peruvian schools) that coaching allows schools to transform. In a place where acceptance and respect for students own characteristics can create a more empathic and motivational environment, it creates an engine for more meaningful learning. Our dream is to encourage more schools to implement coaching programs, so more teachers and staff members can benefit from this important support, and more students can be knowledgeable about their personal development and growth. With support from people responsible at school and from parents at home, students can engage actively in their education, and become motivated to learn independently.
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