Friday, December 19, 2008

Coaching and Teaching Pt. 2

There are more differences between coaching and teaching:

1. In coaching you can easily see if the athlete is performing the movements correctly, in education you cannot see if the student is reasoning correctly. This is why I emphasize that the student explain the problem to the teacher and then the teacher analyze and correct the student's reasoning. This method is equivalent to a coach analyzing and correcting the athletes movement.

2. Given that you can't see the student's reasoning, it is sometimes difficult to communicate how a "good" student reasons and organizes his/her work for maximum effect. So it may be beneficial to create videos of "good" students taking a test or doing homework, with the audio dubbed to describe what the student was thinking as he/she was doing the test/homework. The videos should be "shot" from above the student, this way you can see how the student organizes their work on the paper. One advantage of this method is that it is easier to communicate the practices, habits, strategies and tactics of a good student in test taking situations.

In addition, this method can be used with students who need improvement. If you create a video of the student taking a test or doing homework, then you can review the video with the student to gain an understanding of the thought process. During the analysis process, you can correct any thought processes, writing habits, strategies, tactics, etc. Also, you can identify parts of the testing process where the student could be more efficient, do the same work with less time, and where certain strategies could have been used and how they could have been used. The psychological dimension should also be explored to determine how the student can manage anxiety, panic, and overwhelm during the test.

This method can also be applied to studying.

3. Given that some parts of education is mandatory (elementary and high schools), students may have to attend the school involuntarily. Even if student attendance is not completely involuntary, the student's belief that he/she is capable of learning and succeeding may not be there. So you may have to use motivational techniques to instill the belief that they can succeed, both emotionally and rationally.

Even this is not enough, sometimes you will be called on to "sell" education, to convince the student to "buy" what you are "selling", mastery of knowledge. The more challenging the school, the more difficult the sell. As such it may be beneficial to employ techniques used in sales, marketing, public relations, and politics. Our goal is to find out which words, which phrases have maximum effect on the students and incorporate them into the lectures. We want to understand the mind of the students, their desires, their fears, their hopes, and their dreams. We want to know what drives them. In other words we want to know how they think. This way we can determine how to best "sell" education to a sometimes challenging audience. Our goal here is not to manipulate for selfish ends, rather it is to guide the student to a positive goal, without telling inaccruate, distorted, or self serving statements.

It may be helpful for schools to study public relations, sales techinques, and marketing techniques.

4. Another idea, is for the teacher to record each lecture. Afterwards the teacher can then analyze the lecture, and look for improvements. Each explanation, each example, word, phrase, concept, movement, and pose will be analyzed and directed to maximum effect - the communication of concepts in such a manner that most of the students will understand, the motivation of students, and the "selling" of education.

5. Teaching few students is not the same as teaching 30 or even 40 students. The difference is that when you teach a few students you can work on each on individually, you can wear down the exterior and motivate them more effectively. Students act differently in crowds, so we should also study student behavior in crowds, and learn how to control crowds and direct them to postive ends. In this regard it is best to study the work of Edward Bernays and crowd psychology.

More Later

John Gonzalez


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