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Collegial Coaching

location_on Vantaa, Finland

A model for organising peer coaching for teachers’ ICT skills

In teacher peer coaching, upper and lower secondary school teachers act as tutors for their community’s teaching staff, providing training, peer support and practical guidance to their colleagues. This model describes how to organize the activity at municipal or school level.

Finland 100

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100

2011

Established

-

Children/users

1

Countries
Target group
Teachers
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
What I’ve found to be particularly valuable is you actually see the reality teachers live in with hardware and software, as well as their ICT competence.
- Heli Luokkamäki, Project Manager

About the innovation

What is it all about?

Teachers' professional skillsets require constant updating due to the changing world around us. Teachers are the ones who teach students how to face the changing world. They are the ones who are required to learn new things so that they can use them in class.

Digitalization is a rapidly evolving phenomenon affecting people and their environment. A world with more and more technology requires teachers to become familiar with ICT, adopt it and develop their own skills to use it. This is the only way to update teaching to the present day according to requirements and in a pedagogically meaningful way.

Learning new skills requires energy and time, as well as courage. There are also preconceptions towards digital teaching methods and their introduction that it will be difficult and pointless for many teachers. Teachers should be provided with accessible, multi-level training, as well as support in developing their ICT skills and incorporating them into their teaching.

Teacher peer coaching is an excellent way to develop the pedagogical ICT skills of the teaching staff. In teacher peer coaching, ICT skills are taught by other teachers, their peers. These tutors are trained teachers, who have the pedagogical understanding and knowledge of what the challenges and opportunities found in everyday classrooms are. Learning is also easier when the teacher is your peer instead of an outsider who might not understand how classrooms work.

In addition to the actual training, the tutoring teacher will assist teachers in facing unexpected technical problems and provide ideas for using digital tools pedagogically. As a result of sharing ideas and training, a teacher does not have to spend so much time on studying new technologies from scratch.

This innovation shows you how to implement peer coaching both in your local area (e.g. the municipality or school district) and in your school on the more practical level.

The steps include the main stages of getting started and organizing the activity, which can be modified for your area or school. The examples described come from peer coaching in the city of Vantaa.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

The innovation combines peer teaching, user training and support for the use of digital devices in an interesting way.

Impact

Information and communication technologies are incorporated into teaching in a genuinely useful way.

Scalability

The innovation can be used in any school which has ICT resources and the time to put aside for the project.

Steps

Regional level: Assigning a coordinator
At the regional level it’s good to have an individual person coordinating the activities.

Depending on the scope of your plans and the resources available to you, you can assign the coordination to someone alongside their other work or hire a full-time coordinator.

Regional level: Recruiting the tutors
It’s best to have more than one teacher acting as a tutor, to make it easier for the teachers to network, share knowledge and get support from other tutors.
Regional level: Planning the work
When planning the work, it’s best to consider when the tutor will actually be at work.

For tutors it’s smart to assign, for example, one full day of work per week for the actual tutoring. This makes it easier for the tutor to discern between different roles and schedules, when there is no teaching planned for the same day.

It’s also worthwhile to consider how the tutors are distributed in the schools of the area and plan the tutoring for one semester at a time.

Regional Level: Planning lessons
After appointing a coordinator and recruiting the tutors, the planning phase begins.

Planning can also be done simultaneously with the launch of the operation:

  • What kind of support do teachers in your region / school need?
  • How can you survey needs?

For example, you can make a questionnaire for surveying the needs of the teachers in your area and discuss the required support with the assigned coordinator.

Regional level: Acquisition of equipment for self-study
Provide tutors with devices for self-study and tutoring.

The device could for example be a tablet, a Chromebook, or a laptop.

The acquisition of equipment plays a major role in the quality of tutoring: tutors need to have up-to-date devices to test new applications and tools as part of their work.

Regional Level: Communication
Both schools and individual teachers should be informed as extensively as possible, so people know about the tutoring and can take advantage of it.
School level: Designating the tutor teacher
Find an ICT-orientated teacher at your school who would like to become a tutor.
School level: Managing tutor resources
Assign the designated tutor working hours for the tutoring. It’s best to give them a whole day off once a week from their actual teaching work.
School level: Planning the tutoring
Build a long-term plan for the tutoring together with the school management and tutor / tutors.

The plan may include:

  • small-scale training for individual teachers or classes
  • larger scale training for several teachers
  • workshops
  • peer support during classes

The knowledge and development needs of school teachers are also good to be surveyed for the working plan.

School level: tutoring as a part of the school day
Once the training needs are mapped out, think about how the tutoring blends into the school day.

Consider the following:

  • How will possible substitute teaching be arranged?
  • How are tutors utilized?

Options may include:

  • Support for a single teacher / teacher groups / the whole teaching staff
  • Joining classes together
  • Training sessions for the whole town or city
School level: Communication
It is important to inform the school teachers as widely as possible, so that they know about the tutoring and are able to take advantage of it.
School level: Getting started
When the arrangements at the school have been made, it's time to start.

Below is an example of what tutoring might look like.

Example: Liisa’s day

The preparation for the music workshop started already a year in advance on the planning day. The objective was to use tablets for teaching music.

Here is my lesson plan for the training:

"During the training, we will learn to use tablets as a tool for music education. We’ll go through different kinds of music games, apps suitable for studying theory and instruments, and we will compose our own songs on tablets. We’ll be working with both Samsung devices and iPads.

Take as much of your own equipment for training as possible. Up to 12 participants will be trained. Participants are selected in order of registration.”

The session was organized for the third time, so the material only needed a little update. The previous night, I made a Google Classroom, to which I loaded all the course material with the help of my trainer colleague. The training was regional, i.e. all teachers in the city were able to sign up  – the room was full.

Teachers arrived at the training motivated after work. Me and my colleague introduced ourselves shortly and then we got to know the trainees. After some initial tension, things got rolling nicely. The teachers really knew how to jump right in. First we got to know the applications; the good and the bad. We shared the best tips with the group. Then, we gave a very short presentation on how to use tablets in music teaching.

After a small break, we began playing together. The groups formed small bands and the instruments used were virtual. The groups prepared brilliant performances from  songs by Paula Vesala to children's songs. The trainees participated enthusiastically. As the last thing of three intensive hours, we looked at making music and recording with Garage Band.

The teachers were visibly excited when they headed home. Although we all think that music should be made with real instruments, we found tablet devices to be a versatile tool for teaching music.

Spread of the innovation

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