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Notes on Coaching/Mentoring/Tutoring. Ray Bareiss Carnegie Mellon West February 3, 2004. What does(n’t) a coach (a.k.a. tutor) do?.

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notes on coaching mentoring tutoring

Notes on Coaching/Mentoring/Tutoring

Ray Bareiss

Carnegie Mellon West

February 3, 2004

what does n t a coach a k a tutor do
What does(n’t) a coach (a.k.a. tutor) do?

Attempts to define this teaching role usually concentrate on what the tutor should not do. He is told that he should not put students into a passive learning role by giving them the facts they need or by lecturing to them; students should actively acquire the facts they need on their own. The tutor is also told that he should not tell his students whether their ideas presented in discussions or their answers to questions are right or wrong; they should find out for themselves, under the tutor’s guidance. Descriptions of what the tutor should do are less specific and usually difficult to understand. He is told that the tutor should facilitate or guide learning by encouraging students to present and discuss their own ideas and to determine their own learning needs. The usual result is that the new tutor will either sit in the group and say nothing or will try to encourage student discussion in a non-specific way. Unsure of what to say or how to facilitate learning, he characteristically falls back on the more comfortable and understandable direct teaching or didactic style when students seem to be wandering off course, expressing incorrect information or ignoring important facts and concepts.

--- Howard Barrows, the father of PBL

techniques of cognitive apprenticeship
Techniques of Cognitive Apprenticeship
  • Modeling
  • Coaching
  • Scaffolding
  • Articulation - encouraging the learner to verbalize knowledge and thinking
  • Reflection - learners are encouraged to review their performance critically and non-punitively
  • Exploration - learners pose and solve problems of their own creation
a great tutor asks questions
A great tutor asks questions
  • Short answer -- verification, disjunction, concept completion, feature specification, and quantification
  • Long answer -- definitions, examples, comparisons, interpretations, causal antecedent, causal consequences, expectational, judgmental, and enablement
  • Meta-questions -- group dynamics, monitoring, self-directed learning, clarification-seeking questions, and requests for action

In a study, 70% of questions asked by a great tutor were meta-questions. (Others were verification, concept completion, definition, interpretation.)

Students asked themselves nearly all of the long answer questions!

roger on mentoring
Roger on mentoring
  • Be ignorant (“I don’t know; what do you think?”)
  • Live and let live (not every student can [or wants to] do everything equally well)
  • Know when to tell a fact (when it’s not pedagogically important, when a looming mistake is catastrophic, …)
  • Suggest what to do only when appropriate (when the student is misdirected, when he or she doesn’t recognize the answer has been found, when he or she is so stuck, …)
  • Take a contrary position (sometimes even if the student is right)
  • Handhold with caution (with generalities that must be operationalized, with small aspects of practice they won’t notice, …)
  • Recognize when more practice is needed (and when it’s not)
  • Stop students when they become too frustrated.
donald shon on educating the reflective practitioner
Donald Shon on Educating the Reflective Practitioner
  • Knowing-in-action is the application of tacit knowledge and skills to achieve a successful outcome. Reflection should aim to make the tacit explicit.
  • Reflection-in-action is conscious plan/process repair in response to an expectation failure.
  • Reflection-on-action is “post-processing” to promote appropriate generalization.