Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Mentoring and Coaching - Do you need it?
By Barbara Bray    May 7, 2010 -- 05:17 PM

Seth Godinís post Mentoring, platforms and taking a leap asked "how much support does someone need (or get, or deserve, you pick) before they ship their art?" Real artists are passionate about their art. Nothing stops them from painting, singing, or playing an instrument. Itís in their blood. The thing with artists is that they have to be immersed in their art, because they love it. Unfortunately, they may not be the best at promoting their art.

Teaching is an art. Most teachers become teachers because they want to make a difference in children's lives. Everyone started out as a student and possibly was exposed to a favorite teacher who believed in them. "I can make a difference in someone elseís life like he or she did."

Seth wrote that artists donít need mentoring or a coach to help them make a difference. The artist does that on their own, because they believe in their art and jump in on their own. I have seen teachers who go way beyond what is expected of them to engage their students. Yes, they are artists. Teaching to the test is not an art. Engaging students in the learning process; motivating students to want to learn is an art.

Over the past nine years, teachers, especially at Title I and low performing schools, followed prescriptive scripts that focused on reading and math. No time for art, music, and even Social Studies or Science. Nine years is a long time for teachers to teach this way. There is a whole generation of kids who only know this type of teaching. It is important to bring back the teacher as artist and unless teacher education programs change, teachers will need mentoring, modeling, coaching support. It takes a lot of work to change teaching practice. These low performing schools really need teachers who are artists.

Categories: "Mentoring" "Coaching" "Artists" "Teaching" "Change"

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