Monday, November 9, 2009

Academic Coaching

Blogging from Montana this morning, where a high school is working on improving the relationship between teachers and students through the use of an Academic Coaching system.  That such "competence support" has an impact on student achievement is well documented and is an excellent example of a school integrating the 8 Conditions and a school's mandate to assist all students in doing their best academic work.  These are not separate realities, as if parents sent only their child's head to school.  Rather adult support throughout the school day, perceived by students as "care" and "respect" is what effective teachers and schools do that students can succeed academically.

At this particular school, there has been a 5% increase in student agreement with the statement "I push myself to do better acadmeically" (an 11% increase for males).  This correlates with improvements of 6%, 8%, and 8% to the indicators "Teachers care about me as an individual," "I have a teacher who is a positive role model for me," and "If I have a problem, I have a teacher with whom I can talk," respectively.  As with academic effort, the biggest improvements were among males.

At the end of the day, students work harder for teachers they believe care about them and respect them.  I have talked with many students who tell me, "I do homework in his class because he's a good guy, even though I am not that interested in the subject" or "I work hard in that class because I don't want to let my teacher down."  These are personal and social factors that directly impact student learning.  At this Montana high school, they are seeing Student Aspirations as the framework for academic success it is meant to be.

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