Coaching in the Classroom

Project based teaching creates opportunities for teachers to take on more of a coaching role than traditional teaching. Such coaching is often student-centered, focusing on student strengths while finding ways to overcome student weaknesses. The teacher, operating within his/her content expertise, encourages, motivates, and helps students develop skills, confidence, and competence (Boss, 2018). In her book Project Based Teaching: How to Create Rigorous and Engaging Learning Experiences, author Suzie Boss shares the following regarding engaging and coaching students (pp. 160-161):

  1. Know your students. Use your knowledge of students to engage them in their learning.
  2. Define learning goals together with students. Let students be part of the planning process and include them in developing the assessment rubric.
  3. Share the work with students. Students will develop a sense of ownership in the project process.
  4. Use student questions to drive and sustain inquiry throughout the project.
  5. Give students a voice in articulating expectations for the project.
  6. Create multiple avenues for meeting student needs. Teachers, peers, community experts, and students themselves can contribute to meeting the established learning goals.
  7. Reflect intentionally and often. Celebrate accomplishments.

Consider these suggestions as you plan for upcoming projects in your classroom. You might find you really enjoy a coaching role, and you might find your students really grow in such a student-centered environment.

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