Motivation and Movement Through Conversation

The first days of my new job as technology integration specialist were quite surreal. For 25 years I had worked as a classroom teacher integrating whatever tools and techniques were at my disposal to make learning engaging and effective. What I knew or wanted to know was highly contextual and personal, always centered around my own personal interests or the needs of the students I was teaching. Now I found myself cast in the role of an expert on all things technology. I received calls for assistance with tools that I had never personally used or even heard of! I was training (a word I hope to use very little in the future) teachers to use technology in ways that made very little sense, to me or to them. What had I gotten myself into!

Things are changing. After attending and hosting an EdCamp event (EdCampMSP), I got a glimpse of what self-directed learning in a professional setting could look like. After taking two Powerful Learning Practices courses, Teaching Online: Becoming a Connected Educator and Connected Coaching, I realized how professional development could be designed around a teacher’s needs and strengths.

Perhaps the single most head-spinning encounter was with the book Evocative Coaching.  Authors Bob and Megan Tschannen-Moran set forth a powerful professional development manifesto that is a perfect fit for those of us tasked with technology integration, without once using the word iPad!

Instead, the Tschannen-Moran’s focus on the importance of the relationship that must develop between two people in order for growth to occur. And this relationship is predicated on a few principles:

  1. Teachers are capable adults and can be trusted to figure out things for themselves
  2. Learning takes place when people actively take responsibility for constructing meaning from their experience
  3. Coaches focus on improving their relationships with teachers, so that teachers get motivated and empowered to improve their own performance and quality of life
  4. Evocative coaches collaborate with teachers through exploring story, understanding feelings, appreciating strengths and enhancing strategies
To evoke is to “bring to existence” or “to call into action”. What I love about this word in relationship to coaching is the assumption that teachers already have what it takes to move forward, to grow. It may only be dormant at the moment. Waiting for a relationship with a caring coach to nurture what is already alive.



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