Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Good Teachers and Good Coaches - Is there a difference?

It's every parent's right to brag. My daughter Sydney has proven, over the last few years, to be quite an accomplished little ski racer and basketball player. Her success certainly can't be attributed to her genes as neither of her parents have skied around gates, and only one has ever played on a basketball team. So who gets the credit? I'll argue with anyone that without a doubt, it is her coaches. And it is not because they are nice people, who care about her development. Not because they go to great lengths to provide her with opportunities. It is not because they've surrounded her with other like minded individuals. It is because of the feedback they constantly provide.

So this got me thinking, is there a difference between what good coaches do with feedback and what good teachers do?

- Good coaches give constant feedback that is appropriate to the athletes ability. It is precise and attainable and evolves as the athlete does.

- Good coaches talk less and observe more. They provide time for athletes to apply the feedback already given and make minor adjustments as needed.

- Good coaches provide opportunities for self-assessment. The competition situations they create allow athletes to reflect on strengths and areas for improvement.

- Good coaches integrate learning. Initially skills are taught in isolation and then gradually integrated with other skills in game like situations. This provides athletes with opportunities for self, peer, and coach feedback.

- Good coaches use meta-cognition strategies. Coaches ask athletes to verbalize their thinking process which allows for them to self-regulate. Coaches take lots of time to have their athletes reflect on their performance and use this to provide feedback.

Is there a difference, I don't think so. Good teachers are good coaches. And good teachers provide opportunities for parents to brag!

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