“The relevant question for the learning organization is not, “Who is in charge?” but rather, “How can we best get results?” – DuFour & Eager
I recently observed coaches guiding and supporting young student athletes at the Middle School wrestling championships and hope to see some exciting action at the BC Basketball Championships. I watch these events in awe at the ability of mentor teachers who coach and instruct these young learners to achieve more than they thought they could. I coached for years as a teacher and attribute much of my professional development to what I learned on the soccer field and on the basketball court. Coaching made me a better teacher.
Some of the strategies I learned from professional mentors and researchers were obvious on the court. Applying them to my craft in the classroom became easier once I experimented with them on the courts. Strategies included:
- step by step direct instruction
- guided skill development
- goal selection
- building appropriate practice lessons
- team building
- cohort support
- organizational skills
- student/athlete engagement
- active participation
- formative and summative assessments
- immediate feedback
- public presentation of skills learned
- motivation skills
When completely understood both on the court and in the classroom I became a better teacher. I remain grateful to coaches for their gift of time, mentorship and guidance of student athletes and for the transferable skills they passes on to me.
Although I never coached volleyball I recently found an article by Donna Peterson in the December, 2009 edition of School Administrator that I feel is worthy of reading and sharing. In her article Ms Peterson articulated and explained the following in terms of how volleyball has helped her as a teacher and person. The great lessons included:
- Weigh in on close calls
- Get out of the way
- Don’t chase the ball
- You can be overruled
- It is not as easy as it looks
- You will be second-guessed
- Once you make a call, move on to the next play
I think you will find her article and the explanation of the game of volleyball into professional lessons very interesting.
Enjoy your spring break; go play, garden, rest and enjoy those around you.
“Your success as a leader who gets the most from people won’t depend on your title, your degrees, or your previous experience. It won’t be the result of how much you know, how hard you work, what long hours you keep, or anything you say. It will rest almost totally on the way you treat people.” – Robert Ramsay