No Experts Here, Just Collaborating Colleagues

This quarter, through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, my classmates and I are building skills towards becoming peer coaches in our respective schools. As I describe in an earlier post, peer coaches work with a collaborating teacher to help them to recognize their amazing abilities through questions and periods of reflection, allowing the collaborative teacher to solve their own challenges with the help of a safe, supportive cheerleader on the side. One essential aspect of the peer coaching role is exploring the lesson improvement process, where the collaborating teacher and the peer coach examine a current lesson plan and find ways to enhance what is already being taught. As I move forward with the idea of lesson improvement, I am left wondering how to balance the role of coach without crossing into the position of “expert.” In Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, author, Les Foltos, warns readers that “teachers want a coach to be a peer, not an expert” (Foltos, 2013, pg. 19). Teachers don’t want someone to telling them what to do, they want a friend and a colleague to talk though a lesson and share ideas that could enhance … Read More

Librarians and Teachers Working to Incorporate 21st Century Skills

This week I explore the first and sixth ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. Through my studies, the terms “21st century skills” and “21st century learners” continue to pop up. These phrases have been used in abundance over the last decade, but what do they really mean? And how do I, as a school librarian, help incorporate them into the classroom? In an effort to succinctly articulate my musings, my question this week is as follows:

What are 21st century skills and how can they be incorporated into the classroom in a meaningful way that enhances the curriculum?

Before I can explore the implementation of 21st century skills, I needed to pause and illustrate what a 21st century learner might look like:

21st Century Learners

The National Council of Teachers of English define a 21st century learner as someone who is able to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology,
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought,
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes,
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information,
  • Create, critique,
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