Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coaching across time zones--

It was Tuesday-- 4 PM in Melbourne, Australia
and 2 AM in Chardon, OH.

Yet with the affordances of technology, time and space became totally irrelevant (although my brain rebelled a bit at that hour) as the PLP ConnectU Animals and Habitats team from Melbourne met in Elluminate and I joined in as their connected coach.

Committed, passioned educators-- keen to become more accomplished in developing PBL experiences for their students-- Jane, Lisa, and Tim (Ben's Internet was down) connected, collaborated and set out immediate next steps as they continued discussions begun in their team room in the PLP Ning online community.

Jane Brayshaw, the team's leader had summarized the discussions from Ning for the meeting and she and Lisa had developed a list of learning standards from the VELs that their soon to be unit might well address.

From the conversations came agreement on a driving question appropriate for the PBL unit they are designing for their students-- "How do we provide for the health of animals in our local communities?"

Their discussion around assessment -- as, of, and for -- was refreshing

As a coach, I answered questions they had for me and asked questions in chat of them as they thought through their process. My goal --they would recognize and call on their individual and collective strengths to carry on (they did and very likely could have done it well without me).

Similar to my recent role as community leader for PLP and as expert learner in a constructivist classroom, the complex dance of coaching- of nudging and suggesting and then stepping back, sitting on my hands - continued. Sometimes that dance is far more complex and difficult than others - this was not one of those times. That dance is an art it seems to me -- one I've been practicing in an ongoing quest to develop expertise. With this team, the dance is exhilarating and exciting.

The team is on their way; their focus is on their students' learning; a grand inquiry PBL unit into animals in their local communities is the making.

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