Modeling self-directed learning

For the next few months, I will be reading Cognitive Coaching – Developing Self-Directed Leaders and Learners by Arthur Costa and Robert Garmston, while I participate in the #CogCoachStudy book study and Twitter chat.

In our first week of reading, I discovered the (multiple) meanings of Cognitive Coaching and was asked to reflect and share how I model self-directed learning.

From the very first day that I set foot in my own classroom, I always told others that I saw myself more of a coach to my students than a traditional teacher. I expressed this because I always encouraged my students to be self-directed learners, and I saw my role in the classroom to be the one to provide my learners with the tools they would need to accomplish this. Over time, as I have worked my way up into a leadership position, my “students” are now teachers. However, my teaching philosophy has not changed and I continue to provide teachers with the tools they need to be empowered with a willingness to be life-long learners, like myself. To accomplish this, I model some of the following skills that encompass what it is to be a self-directed learner:

  1. I am resourceful – I am an active participant in social media. I participate in Twitter chats and online book studies, to develop my PLN of like-minded educators and leaders in educational technology. I am not afraid to ask questions and to seek out help and advice. I visit other schools and contact other Directors and individuals in a similar role to learn about their school, their strategic plan, their challenges and successes, and I learn from their experiences.
  2. I am goal orientated – I set professional and departmental goals each academic year and put them up in my office. In addition, I set personal goals at the beginning of a new calendar year. I revise, edit, and update those goals, and I ask my team of teachers to also set their own goals related to educationally technology and innovation.
  3. I am committed to life-long learning – My yearly goals always include learning something new, attending a seminar or workshop, reading books, traveling, etc.
  4. I ask questions – Though not currently a strength of mine, I have begun to ask more questions to myself, to reflect and challenge my own reasoning when making certain decisions. In addition, following the viewing of Start With Why – Simon Sinek TED talk, this past summer I have begun many conversations with my team, with the question why?

As I continue to be a role model in my leadership position, I look forward to developing the foundational skills related to cognitive coaching to encourage my team of educators to not only become self-directed learners but also to grow into cognitive coaches for their teams.

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