Coaching is a critical component of supporting teacher effectiveness. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of instructional technology, and instructional technology coaching is key to assisting teachers with powerful uses of technology. Establishing a strong culture of coaching, however, requires structures to be in place in a school or district such as designated time for coaching, and ongoing professional development for coaches and administrators.
During the pandemic in Puerto Rico, the growing need for technology integration in a remote academic setting pushed educators to rely on each other and adjust their practice to support students in meaningful ways. These efforts were largely informal, though, as the Puerto Rico Department of Education does not have a formalized coaching structure in place.
In May 2020, Digital Promise and Global Education Exchange Opportunities (GEEO), a Puerto Rico-based education nonprofit, established a partnership to support and expand educator professional learning and use of technology in Puerto Rico through coaching and micro-credentials. Together, we identified an opportunity to address the gaps in coaching structures and pilot a coaching model to support the powerful use of technology in schools. The six-month pilot was based on the Challenge-based Coaching Model, which was developed through Digital Promise’s work on the Dynamic Learning Project. The goal of the pilot was to help teacher-support specialists (MRUCs) at the pilot schools develop as coaches while working with teachers to enhance their technology use and tackle instructional and professional challenges using innovative strategies.
Our new report (click here to download in Spanish) highlights how the pilot helped establish a culture of coaching at each of the ten pilot schools and positively impacted the practice of participating coaches and teachers. All of the teachers in the pilot reported that working with a coach improved their practice and that their experience was rewarding. Over 88 percent of coaches felt confident to continue using the Challenge-based Coaching Model beyond the pilot. As part of the pilot, school leaders, coaches, and teachers engaged with micro-credentials to support their professional learning journey around systems change, coaching, and technology. Popular micro-credentials included:
School leaders believe the pilot not only positively impacted coaches and teachers but also students and their families. Moving forward, school leaders plan to advocate for the MRUC position, which is traditionally a part-time resource support position, to be a full-time coaching position based in the schools. GEEO will continue to work with schools on establishing formal coaching models to help more schools across Puerto Rico adopt similar systems.
Note that Spanish-language versions of the micro-credentials listed in this blog were earned by pilot participants.