August 05

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Personal Reflections: Participating in Online Professional Development

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By Amy Hollinger, Director of Professional Development

In my role as Director of Professional Development for Global Online Academy I am constantly striving to continue my own professional growth, especially in the online environment. Recently I had the opportunity to be a participant in one of our GOA online PD courses, “Coaching Innovation.” I chose to take this course because the participants are from various countries and all are in roles similar to mine. We are all working with adult learners in some sort of coaching capacity. The following is my list of eight things that I loved about and learned from participating in the course:

  1. Connecting and learning with educators from around the world is a huge benefit that online learning environments provide. I had the opportunity to work with educators from Japan, Connecticut, and everywhere in between.
  2. Having a master facilitator (Glenda Baker, American School in Japan) develop and lead the course is also key.
  3. We learned about coaching through content digestion, content creation, application of content, and forming our own plan for using what we were learning in our own setting. In other words, we talked the talk and walked the walk with appropriate support along the way.
  4. Community among the participants was built through content. We had to actively engage in discussions, online video conferencing, real time coaching demonstrations and conversations, and share our own resources. We ended up knowing each other really well and expanding our personal learning networks.
  5. Effective coaching conversations consist of paraphrasing, pausing, mirroring body language, and providing reflective (probing) questions.
  6. An effective coach understands that when they work with teachers, it is about developing the teacher, not about pushing the coach’s ideas on the teacher.
  7. Coaches need to approach their work with a growth-oriented mindset. This is the mindset highlighted by the work of Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck. A growth oriented mindset is one in which people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed over time. Having a growth oriented mindset creates a love of learning and resilience. These are qualities that the majority of all great thinkers have had.
  8. The amount of practice and face time that we had throughout the course really impacted my personal learning. For example, I really appreciated that in some of our asynchronous discussions we used videos to make posts and respond to one another. I liked getting to “see” the other participants. At the end of the day, “face time” really made me feel connected to the other participants.

Overall the course was an amazing experience because it was facilitated by a talented educator. Glenda designed the experience to provide us with a strong sense of community while challenging us to apply new learning to the art of “coaching innovation” in our roles.