Coaching in Educational Development

I have recently completed my UBC Certificate in Organizational Coaching program through Extended Learning. I was consistently invited to lean into the discomfort in the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1935) and this learning journey has been powerfully transformative for me.

Zone of Proximal Development by Lev Vygotsky (1935).

Bringing in my lenses as an educational developer, a distress services provider, a scientist, and a life-long learner, my evolving conceptualization of coaching is a mutual commitment to the process of learning that ultimately enhances my client’s internal capacity to make meaningful and sustainable changes toward their stated goals. I strive to show up as my authentic self, with presence, curiosity, and vulnerability that support my clients to dive into the learning zone, or the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1935). As a thought partner, I bring integrity, honesty, and accountability into conversations to explore, discover, collaborate and design the pathways to my clients’ intentional success.

It is exciting to learn how others draw on their expertise to incorporate coaching into various educational contexts (Lofthouse, 2019). At UBC, there is a growing coaching culture and I have access to a wealth of resources as an internal coach. I am committed to gathering stories from fellow internal coaches to learn how they leverage their coaching skills to affect change within UBC.

As an early career educational developer, I will have to continue to increase my level of self-awareness and self-regulation within my work context as I try to bring a coach approach to my work. I am eager to integrate this newly developed coaching skills to partner with faculty members to “develop teaching quality, to enable inter-professional learning, and to facilitate positive and productive relationships through cultural change in educational communities” (Lofthouse, 2019). I hope to deepen relationships with educators by creating intentional learning spaces for dialogue, modelings a strength-based practice, and extending their skills and knowledge through co-construction!

References

  • Lofthouse, R. (2019). Coaching in education: A professional development process in formation. Professional Development in Education, 45(1), 33-45.
  • Vygotsky, L. (1935 [2011]). The dynamics of the schoolchild’s mental development in relation to teaching and learning (trans. A. Kozulin). Journal of Cognitive Education & Psychology, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 198–211.

Fostering Appreciative Resilience

While the virtual format of the EDC 2019 Conference did not allow for fostering new and deepening existing relationships with fellow EDs from other institutions, it offered a rare opportunity for us – colleagues who otherwise work in isolation within the same institution – to connect, learn, and reflect together. The protected time to engage in rich discussions around resilience and well-being in our professional work was invaluable for me as an early career ED; the experience really illustrated that resilience is much more than an internal capacity or attribute – external resources, influences, and environment also play a central role in fostering or depleting our individual and collective resiliency.

appreciative resilience model
Appreciative Resilience Model. By Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell.

Reflecting on the week’s learning, I am taking up on Joan McArthur-Blair and Jeanie Cockell’s challenge during their keynote and articulating my preliminary thoughts on how I can foster more resilience in self and others:

 

At the personal level:

I am committed to “begin with the end in mind” (Covey, 2004) and to gather more “intentional evidence” in my own work by articulating my goals, identifying appropriate evidence to evaluate success, and designing the process to minimize the intention-impact gap (Hoessler, Ives, & Martin, 2019). The promise of specific and evidence-based feedback offered by this structured framework resonates deeply with me. This systematic approach of intentional evaluation may also offer inspirations or even opportunities to engage in action research.

At my own institution:

It was apparent that we thrived when we connect with one another and share our successes and challenges at work; I would like to be intentional in supporting resilience in my colleagues and in instructors. I am committed to proactively in reaching out to those whom I work with – simple check-ins to acknowledge their work and to invite informal discussions, with goals to make them feel appreciated and cared for (Wetherall, Hannon, & Martin, 2019). Relationships require effort and social investment to blossom and deepen; I hope that I will help foster resilience in others by fostering our mutual relationships.

Beyond my institution:

I enjoyed the collegial collaboration in creating our EDC presentation with fellow early-career EDs across the country (Building bridges instead of walls: Drawing on collective wisdom to navigate the contradictions of educational development as an early career professional). I felt that this supportive learning community is instrumental in regenerating my sense of resilience, motivation, and hope in my work. Having a safe space to celebrate our successes and to share our struggles with each other reminds me of our individual and collective capacity to support resilience in ourselves and in others.

Going back to “Hope” in Joan and Jeanie’s Appreciative Resilience Model, perhaps we may even be able to influence our environment – institutional culture and structures – to further foster resilience!

How do you foster resilience in yourself and others?

References:

Early-Career Educational Developers Action Group

I have recently joined the newly formed EDC Early-Career Educational Developers Action Group – to co-investigate the experience of being an early-career educational developer (ED). While my hope is to contribute to this worthwhile effort for new EDs navigate their role, I know the real beneficiary will be me throughout this process – with structured opportunities to collaborate nationally, to reflect my own lived experiences, to articulate my questions, to examine my assumptions and beliefs, and many more learning opportunities. Already, I experience a deep sense of trust, belonging, and comunity, despite the fact that I have never met any of the group members in-person and have only connected virtually on a few occasions.

Guided by our current contexts and emerging needs, we collaborate to develop resources to build our collective capacity in navigating challenges and opportunities in our roles as early-career EDs. At the moment, the group is gearing up to present an interactive workshop at the EDC 2019 virtual conference Building bridges instead of walls: Drawing on collective wisdom to navigate the contradictions of educational development as an early career professional. Our goal is to consider how we, as individuals and as a community through EDC, can better support EDs’ resilience in their navigation of the contradictory nature of the work, with special emphasis on supporting EDs early in their careers. We are looking forward to learning with and from the EDC community.

Our longer-term plan is to conduct a series of surveys and interviews to distill the unique experiences of early-career EDs with goals to put together a guide for new EDs!

NJAW 2018 – How to use MasterMind Groups in Educational Development

“A mastermind group is created when two or more people come together to work towards a purpose. Individual members set goals and seek to accomplish these. Meetings provide support in a group setting and often involve feedback, brainstorming, sharing resources and peer accountability.” – Dr. Isabeau Iqbal

It was such a honour and privilege to collaborate with Dr. Isabeau Iqbal in facilitating the 2018 EDC Not Just Another Webinar – How to use Mastermind Groups in Educational Development. We shared our respective experiences with the use of a mastermind group (MMG) to complete an internal project – highlighting the collaborative, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all involved. We collaborated with the EDC community to generate ideas on the use of MMG in our respective contexts and developed strategies to address anticipated challenges associated with structuring and facilitating MMG.

It was so fun, energizing, and validating to engage with such a lively audience at such an early stage of my ED career. I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity to contribute to the ED community and to learn from such a thoughtful mentor!

We have prepared a list of resources and curated a list of participant-generated response and questions during the session on Padlet.

Thank You is Not Enough to Express Our Gratitude

Institute Facilitators – faculty, staff, and students alike – contribute immensely to the professional development of our teaching and learning community at UBC. The Institute Facilitators inspire, engage, and challenge participants to improve their teaching practice and to enhance student learning and experiences. Other than saying “Thank You” in the most sincere manner I know and hoping that these words resonate with our Institute Facilitators, we did not have any real mechanism to acknowledge their commitment and dedication in sharing their valuable time, experience, and expertise over the years.

We have implemented a few strategies to make our appreciation more visible:

Facilitation Development Workshop Series

This is a creative space for me to deepen my own facilitation practice and to challenge our Institute Facilitators to experiment/explore with new facilitation techniques. My goal for hosting this workshop series is to provide a place of gathering for our community of Institute Facilitators to engage in meaningful peer-learning, knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and innovation around teaching and learning. The rationale for developing and delivering these facilitation development workshop series was discussed previously in Developing the Institute Facilitators post.

Session-Specific Participant Feedback Summary

Deep learning requires time to digest, reflect and practice. In order to contribute to longer term learning, we need feedback when there is a realistic prospect for us to do something with them. At the end of each Institute, I work to summarize participant feedback from each session and to share the synthesized feedback with their respective facilitator (team) within two-three days. We hope that our Institute Facilitators would use these additional information to inform their own reflections. We also invite them to connect with us, should they want to debrief their experiences and/or seek further support in deepening their own professional development.

Institute Facilitators Recognition Website

While it is great to express our gratitude by directly engage with our Institute Facilitators and supporting their professional development needs, we need to help the larger teaching and learning community at UBC to value and appreciate their work and service. One of our first steps is to create a Facilitators’ Recognition Page on the CTLT Institute Website, featuring a curated list of our (almost 300) facilitators, a Q&A section for individuals considering to become an Institute Facilitator, and a growing resources portal for our Institute Facilitators.

We continue to explore ways to show our gratitude and welcome your suggestions!

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