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Emphasis on coaching as it relates to Information Literacy, particularly the conclusions I come to. My aim is to create a connection between the practice of coaching and elements of the practice of IL What does this mean and why is there value in this? I’ll draw on my own experience, observations about the approaches and methods used in coaching – for you, an IL-savvy audience
My conclusions will also draw from the literature and, I hope, prompt us to think about the competencies we value as IL practitioners – while no one has spoken about this before, I’ve noticed interesting things are appearing in the literature that seem to pick up on these themes and have helped me to draw my connections.
“the literature” is Education literature, IL literature, and the institutional landscapes I see around me.
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I will align my perspective on coaching with the College Learning and Teaching Strategy, launched about a year ago You may wish to consider the themes I’m exploring in the context of your institution’s Education strategy
Many different forms of coaching exist.
My coaching story – how I came to coaching. Why I’m in love with coaching: it is a method for improvement and I benefitted greatly and unexpectedly, it was a great surprise. That, in my experience, was truly transformative and inspirational.
Coaching sometimes mistakenly seen as remedial.
Coaching is simply a form of development. It takes many forms and sits in many contexts.
I will focus on workplace coaching which has been applied in leadership/workplace/career contexts. It normally sits in an organisational development context, i.e. not in an academic context
“Coaching conversations” is an important idea – many learning theories focus on talking and listening, for example, dialogic learning, through dialogue.
One view of coaching inculcates habits of thinking and learning so that you can make your way in the world without the coach.
This has to be addressed (briefly) because the two get conflated. In training, in the vernacular… Coaching vs mentoring: Traditionally, mentors give advice and share knowledge based on their worldview and experience. It is somewhat one-sided.
Coaching as a way to facilitate new ways of thinking in the learner via methods that prompt thinking.
Outdated notions of mentoring? https://www.institutelm.com/resourceLibrary/what-does-best-practice-mentoring-look-like.html Also mention CILIP mentor training as drawing heavily on coaching.
Few studies exist which explore coaching as an approach to learning and teaching in HE. Advance HE is formerly HEA (Higher Education Academy) – their Staff Development Forum had a small discussion on this last October via Tweetchat.
Coaching has been used in HE for Medicine and also peer coaching here and there
Example of coaching used in HE: at Imperial. Faculty of Medicine initiative which links the College-wide L&T Strategy to coaching and implements it to provide coaching training to medical students, medical educators, and NHS practitioners
Health coaching skills leads to rethink the power dynamic between health practitioners and patients, beginning with creating a rapport Based on facilitating the patient’s active participation in managing their own health Practitioner is not an expert but an enabler. Patient brings the agenda Coaching creates a relationship of equals - practitioner and patient Coaching is about change and action with an aim of working toward a holistic, whole-life approach
Training is delivered via experiential learning whereby the use of real issues is the material for coaching practice. This is a student-centred, a learner-centred model with a focus on learner empowerment
Very much focused on the coaching mindset – approach conversations and interactions with patients with a different mentality I want to suggest this as a way for teachers to think and interact with learners.
The Imperial L&T Strategy is being implemented for the whole College – Library using it in parallel with ANCIL as our IL curriculum. Has elements you may recognise from your own institution’s various Learning strategies. This is to show that coaching principles mirror very closely the landscape of principles used in teaching.
Student-centred learning – much has been written and said about this – key to the current picture of HE as we consider diversity and equality, the changing picture of student demographics, and hearing the student voice and having an ongoing dialogue with them in order to continually improve (on both sides).
This is not an exhaustive list – these are the skills I chose that overlap with teaching and emphasise learner-focused approaches. These are common among many authors.
A bit more about coaching in practice: In addition to these skills, there are frameworks and models that a coach uses to have a one to one conversation with a client/coachee who we will just call the learner. This work is often focused on reaching a clearly defined goal. The coach asks a series of open-ended questions to prompt the learner, over a series of meetings, to reach stages of development toward the goal. There is not much knowledge imparted, if any. There is a lot of questioning, hopefully, reflection, and answering.
Compare this situation with the teaching you’re familiar with – in all different contexts.
First, a word about methods. I am very interested in coaching as the methods it uses can be described as facilitation methods. As teachers you’re probably familiar with a lot of different methods. This slide will become a prompt for you in a moment. I fell in love with coaching because there is virtually no content. There are methods which involve questioning techniques, for example, but there is no knowledge being imparted from a coach to a learner. This slide comes from David Kember who presents the spectrum of teacher-directed to learner or student-directed learning A similar image was presented to me when I first studied the idea of active learning. It prompts us to think of something very fundamental: * Do we tell students what to do, or do we teach them to think? *
So I want to turn to you to ask you consider what the student does in your learning contexts.
I’m going to prompt you now and ask you: How do you know when learning is taking place?
Librarians do formative and not summative assessment, this is quite important. This harkens back to many theories For example, Kolb’s Experiential learning cycle. Think about what is visible there. This is a prompt to ask you what you may see, feel, hear, experience when learning is taking place in your classroom or learning situations.
This is not an exhaustive list. Methods that were used when I studied coaching
And that are used in coaching practice
Consider how to apply these to your Information Literacy practice
Learning as a social activity is more of a theory Many theories underpin coaching practice
How to apply to information literacy practice Two parts to this: reflection and dialogue Many educational theories about both parts of this exchange.
It is an intrapersonal reflection
Thinking of very intentional ways to challenge the learner There are many educational theories exist about both reflection and about dialogue For example, we have Paolo Freire’s dialogical method, which describes the relationship between teacher and student as one of equals. Freire says that if the right conditions are met, this can lead to freedom or emancipation in a social justice context. Questioning began with the Socratic method as a basis for stimulating critical thinking.
If we borrow from a “coaching conversations” model, where the teacher is primarily using frameworks to engage in questioning – facilitating thinking – engaging the learner to think critically and independently, what would this look like in an IL situation…?
Do you ask questions of students? And if so, how does that play out? Is there a genuine opportunity for your students to reflect and what does that look like?
Involves the highest form of empathy, what is called “connected knowing” by Brockbank p 46 – the listener endeavours to enter the presenter’s world. The conditions for this are dependent on a relationship having been formed.
This is my sole practical example – and it’s a powerful one.
Pedagogical use of silence Questioning, pausing, waiting Parallels coaching’s formal use of questioning techniques, alongside listening nonjudgmentally Stepping outside of comfort zone to fully realise its potential “Silent pedagogy and rethinking classroom practice: structuring teaching through silence rather than talk” Ros Ollin Huddersfield
Practically speaking what happens when you ask your students a question? How long do you wait? What is the climate in the space?
Active learning vs visible learning – reflection and thinking – this is where learning can take place. Ramsden says that it’s taken for granted that students will learn if they do activities. There needs to be a context, a motivation, a way to apply activities. I would add to this that activities do not always need to be visible.
This leads to coaching as applied to IL practice. Starting with a quote from what I would call Emma Coonan’s manifesto
The FLUID MODEL (of Information Literacy) is compared to stable, universally applicable models for information behaviours and information competencies. I would say this is describing IL as a mindset.
There are now multiple legitimate approaches to approach problems within IL: The reality of teaching is fluid We are dealing with a socially constructed model, relying on human interaction We have endlessly developing conditions with no stable solutions Most importantly, agency passes from librarian to learner
I would say this is a situation where engaging with information changes the learner – which is the basic premise of coaching.
Also, because this marks a loss of security and comfort, with instability is a point of new beginning, teaching as a way of being Also harkens back to a liminal phase from threshold concepts.
3 articles/writings resonate to create parallels between coaching competencies and competencies for IL practitioners
Corrall: Critical reflection should be elevated to the special status of a threshold competence for librarians generally ad IL practitioners specifically – the vital importance of having the tools to practice reflection. 1. Practitioners must reflect in order to develop as teachers 2. Therefore, practitioners can foster reflectivity in learners, enabling them to think critically about their abilities as learners.
Inputs to reflection can be thoughts, theories, constructed knowledge
and the outcomes go far beyond CPD: reflection is active, analytical, critical, evaluative, transformative
Outcomes of reflection can include resolutions of uncertainty or knowledge of emotions, which directly parallels intended outcomes for coaching
What to apply to IL from coaching principles and practice, or what we as IL practitioners can learn from coaching.
I have eked out these so-called coaching “competencies” for IL teacher-practitioners to show that coaching is highly applicable to teaching and learning in a HE context and indeed to our IL practice in an HE context.
The final piece of this is the ANCIL strands that describe 2 becoming an independent learner 10 social dimension of information
We can take lessons from coaching in a leadership and professional development context, where it is tried and true And apply it to teaching contexts where we work with students.
ANCIL is A New Curriculum… A way to show that coaching is directly related to information literacy competencies
Where to take this and how to pursue coaching? First and foremost to experience it as a learner because anyone can benefit from receiving coaching – anyone has a goal they can work toward. It is of particular benefit to those who may feel “stuck”.
What is your goal? Small, large, short term, longer term. ‘Facilitated thinking space’ –thinking through a problem and looking at it via a different lens. It is beneficial to have someone to assist you in thinking your way through a goal and putting some structure around it.
Imagine that you had a non-judgmental person, trained in the deepest levels of listening, to sit with you in a carved our space and to ask you about it, prompting you to think through your own process.
In the Slido questions, if you want to contribute comments about past experience with coaching or mentoring, or questions about the practicalities, this is welcome.
By Barry Mangham [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
Teacher as facilitator (updated) - Nijhoff
Teacher as Facilitator
The influence of coaching on Information Literacy practice
Coco Nijhoff, LILAC conference, Nottingham, April 2019
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• Coaching as an approach to learning in HE
• Skills and methods used in coaching
• Focus on active learning approaches
• Influence of coaching on teaching practice
• Coaching “competencies” for teacher-practitioners
To inspire Imperial’s
communities of learners
and researchers by
connecting them to
information and expertise.
What is coaching?
• a form of development
• often delivered one to one
• coach guides the learner by
• non-directive i.e. coach helps
learner to learn rather than
• “a facilitated thinking space”
Coaching vs mentoring
The mentee should do most of the talking.
Principles of coaching
Starr’s Basic Principles of Coaching Imperial Learning and Teaching Strategy
Maintain commitment to the individual. Student-centred; inclusive and diverse
Coachee is responsible for results they create. Student takes responsibility
Coachee is capable of better. Student takes responsibility
Focus on what coachee thinks and experiences. Student-centred; inclusive and diverse
Conversations are based on equality. Students and teachers as co-creators
Fundamental skills of a coach Use of active learning pedagogies
Skills of a coach
(Rogers and Maini)
Approaches to teaching
Didactic Facilitative Experiential
Teacher-directed Learner-directedLearner-teacher interaction
The reflexive turn in Information Literacy
“Many IL practitioners [find] the reality of their teaching to be far more
fluid…together with our learners, we stumbled over questions to which we
could not immediately – or perhaps ever – find stable solutions.
Knowledge is about…participating in a dynamic, socially constructed, and
endlessly developing work.”
Emma Coonan, 2017
Coaching applied to IL
1. Coaching as a mindset
(Meyer and Land)
2. Coaching fosters reflexive
practice for practitioners
3. Coaching embodies
learning how to learn and
for IL teacher-
Coaching as a mindset. Meyer and
Land’s threshold concepts
Coaching fosters reflexive practice
for practitioners. Coaching is
transformative. Sheila Corrall, 2017
Coaching embodies learning to
learn, information has a social
dimension: ANCIL strands
ANCIL strands 2 and 10
Strand content Learning outcome
What is your goal?
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programme or offer
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Watch the Atul Gawande
Learning and Teaching Manager
Imperial College London
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7594 2934
Coonan, Emma. “Towards a Constructive Unbalancing: The Reflexive Turn in Information Literacy.” Foreword in Global Perspectives in
Information Literacy. Chicago: American Association of College and Research Libraries, 2017. Accessed 27 February 2019.
Corrall, Sheila, “Crossing the Threshold: Reflective Practice in Information Literacy.” Journal of Information Literacy 11 no. 1: 23-53,
Gawande, Atul. “Want to Get Great at Something? Get a Coach.” TED2017, accessed 27 February 2019. Video. 11:32. Accessed 27
February 2019. https://www.ted.com/talks/atul_gawande_want_to_get_great_at_something_get_a_coach?language=en
Kember, David. “A Reconceptualisation of the Research into University Academics Conceptions of Teaching.” Learning and Instruction
7: 255-275, September 1997.
Land, Ray and Baillie, Caroline, eds. Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publications, 2010.
Ollin, Ros. “Silent Pedagogy and Rethinking Classroom Practice: Structuring Teaching Through Silence Rather Than Talk.” Cambridge
Journal of Education 38 no. 2: 265-80, May 2008.
Rogers, Jenny and Maini, Arti. Coaching for Health: Why It Works and How To Do It. New York: Open University Press, 2016.
Starr, Julie. The Coaching Manual: The Definitive Guide to the Process Principles and Skills of Personal Coaching. Harlow, UK: Pearson