Heavy or Light?


Last week i participated in the 3rd session of my ICT Peer Coaching Professional Learning. It was great to catch up with those that i had been attending with and seeing where they had got to within there schools in relation to embedding ICT Peer Coaching.

The first step of the day was to investigate on a breif note were each of the schools were at in relation to creating a ‘School Agreement’. This involved answering specific criteria as to why ICT Peer Coaching was identified as a strategy in your current school/college/educational setting. Issues that we were asked to consider were;

  1. School Goals, Vision and Priorities
  2. Professional Learning approaches which already exist in your setting
  3. Current Professional Learning needs of staff
  4. School and Individual Professional Learning plans
  5. The role of the school Leadership in supporting a Peer Coaching Program

The afore mentioned document that we all used can be found here – School Support Agreement

The following part of the PL was a great idea and a bit of fun, not to say that the PL itself was not enjoyable to attend! We were asked how we were going to inform out staff/college/school of ICT Peer Coaching and what that involved. We were given 45-60 minutes to create something which would, in my own eyes, sell the whole idea of ICT Peer Coaching.

Of those that participated we had a wide range of creative responses which was fantastic to see. People were collaborating, working individually, working in pairs, and using a wide range of Technology to create and share their work. There were wikis created via PB Works and Wikispaces, brochures were created via Microsoft Publisher, iMovie Creations (my choice) and Videos via the use of Flip Video Cameras. As a group we were asked to share and view out wonderful creations and all were great! I have attached my creation below! Enjoy!

The majority of the afternoon had us all investigating Communication strategies which involved looking at 4 key areas or skills if you like. These being below:

Active Listening: Attend fully to speaker, lock out competing thoughts, lean forward, and pause before responding

Active listening means that you are monitoring and controlling your behavior and attending to the conversation

Strive to pause for 5-10 seconds after someone finishes speaking. Pausing allows time for the speaker to think. This is also a good way to model thoughtfulness.


Restate what was said to indicate acceptance, encouragement, and understanding. Establish a relationship, avoid “I”.

Paraphrasing can create a safe environment for thinking. It says, I am trying to understand you, and therefore I value what you have to say. Paraphrasing can help to establish a relationship between you and participating teachers.

The I statement signals that what the speaker is thinking no longer matters and that the paraphraser is going to insert his or her own ideas into the conversation.

Clarifying Questions:

Add clarity to the conversation, are factual questions, help the speaker to be more specific, are straightforward questions that don’t require a lot of thought to answer.

Examples of Clarifying Questions: How did you present the information? How many students were there? Were students working in groups?

Probing Questions:

Push the speaker to think more deeply about a topic, are often prefaced by a paraphrase, don’t carry a solution (better if the questioner doesn’t have the answer), are questions that help focus the speaker rather than satisfying coach’s curiosity.

We were put through several gruelling short sessions of buddying up and holding specific conversations with another person. I use the word gruelling as i never realised just how difficult it is to fully concentrate on someone who is speaking. The eye contact. The trying, with absolute pain, to not fidget or look away. Busting my gut not to butt-in and ask questions and respond! And that was just the first minute! We also investigated our own ability to prompt and respond via the two types of questing listed above, clarifying and probing. This was such a worthwhile and beneficial activity and gave emphasis to the importance of having excellent communication skills whilst being a Peer Coach.

To assist us with the above we were given ‘Communication Cue Cards‘ to assist us with our questioning and probing techniques. You can find these Linked above.

The above all stemed from article we were asked to read entitled ‘Are you Coaching, Heavy or Light? This was a great article which posed some very deep thinking about the ways in which peer coaching can occur. The two models, light and heavy, were very different and both had their pros and cons, in my eyes. The article stated that as one who is involved in peer coaching progresses, they should eventually end up as a heavy type coach. i disagreed with this and felt that their could be a balance between the two.

Visit the ICT Peer Coaching Discussion Link here to read what the other coaching participants though about the article.

The end of the Peer Coaching Day saw us looking at examples of student work and investigating what we thought the benefits of having students completing such rich ICT tasks involved. We were asked to view the examples of student work and copmpare them, or tick off if you like, what criteria te students and their completed work had met on the following Learning Activity Checklist. One student example we looked at can be found here.

I will be sure to keep you all posted on the future happenings of the ICT Peer Coaching Sessions.



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