Meeting Emerging Needs of Online Coaching in Teacher Education: Communication, Pedagogy, Technology, and Reflection

Meeting Emerging Needs of Online Coaching in Teacher Education: Communication, Pedagogy, Technology, and Reflection

Kim H. Song
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5162-3.ch005
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The chapter examines emerging priorities and trends in virtual or online teacher education courses using empirical research findings on online courses. The benefits and challenges of the online practicum course are explored, as well as the efficacy of online coaching if it impacts on participants' teaching practice. The uniqueness of this online course is that it uses synchronous one-on-one coaching as an innovative way of leading them to the next level of inquiry. This virtual course facilitates mutual and progressive improvement through synchronous and asynchronous communication tools. The results include the procedure of the interactive and effective online course development, benefits and challenges of taking well-designed online courses, and impact of guided and reflective virtual coaching as well as future direction.
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Online learning has become a popular delivery method for teaching and learning in higher education settings (Koh & Hill, 2009), and its growth is hard to ignore. Survey responses from over 2,200 U.S. colleges and universities have shown that almost 3.2 million students were enrolled in at least one full online course in 2005, an increase of almost one million students from the previous academic year (Allen & Seaman, 2006). Many universities continue to use online classes as a long-term strategy to handle growing student enrollment and shrinking space and budgets (Thompson, 2004 in Clark-Ibanez & Scott, 2008). It is not the exception in teacher education programs that the demand of developing and offering online courses increases.

It takes time, skills, and attitude to excel at effective online teaching (Rose, 2012). Effective online courses need to use a student-centered and constructivist approach where the instructor facilitates student learning. Successful online teaching needs to demonstrate the deep comprehension of the academic content, critical pedagogies of teaching and learning, inquiry and problem solving, cultural understanding, and reflection (Stigler, & Stevenson, 1991; Darling-Hammond, & McLaughlin, 1995). Ongoing modifications regarding teaching strategies are essential for online instructors depending on learning styles, technology skills and cognitive thinking capability. Students’ comments from anonymous reflection could convey their perspectives on strengths and challenges while they are taking online courses. Developing an online class is possible with early planning and an awareness of how to engage students with an online course designer (Clark-Ibáñez & Scott, 2008). In developing teacher education online courses, practicum course development is most challenging because virtual or online supervision is required. Most of the times the students upload their teaching videos, and the instructors provide the feedback.

The specific objectives of this chapter are:

  • 1.

    To share how on-line teacher education courses were developed to enhance active inquiry-based learning and teaching pedagogy;

  • 2.

    To report on how the participants perceived benefits and challenges of the online practicum course; and

  • 3.

    To demonstrate reflective teaching practice using online coaching as a supervision tool at the online practicum course.

For Objective 1, the author shares research-based strategies for designing an effective online course and draws upon prior experiences in teaching online TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) courses. For Objective 2, the author uses the participants’ reflection on benefits and challenges of one online TESOL practicum course to explore if the current research supports them. Objective 3 is a case study to determine the effectiveness of online supervision that uses a three step guided coaching plan.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Voicethread: Voicethread is Web 2.0 software to upload the PowerPoint and video clips. It is a “group audio blog,” which allows users to have ongoing digital conversations built from text, audio, and/or video comments added by small groups of participants around any content imaginable. Voicethread connects the classes with students across counties, countries, or continents asynchronously.

WIMBA: WIMBA is a provider of online collaboration solutions in which you can interact with others. Students and educators alike can talk, listen, draw, write and archive using WIMBA services. Other options offered include video, shared whiteboard, shared screen, and editing a single document.

Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP): SIOP is a research-based and validated model of sheltered instruction that has been widely and successfully used across the U.S. for Professional development. The SIOP helps teachers plan and deliver lessons that allow ELLs to acquire academic knowledge as they develop English language proficiency.

Synchronous Environment: Synchronous environment is what makes possible for real-time communication and collaboration in a “same time-different place” mode. These tools allow people to connect at a single point in time, at the same time. Synchronous tools possess the advantage of being able to engage people instantly and at the same point in time.

Discussion Board: Discussion is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials, and it is made up of forums and threads in the course shells in Blackboard.

Social Networking Tools: Social networking tools provide network analysis and connection facilities to allow people to understand the community structure and influence it over time. These tools range from Facebook and Twitter where all the information is provided by people themselves, to tools that silently collect information from a defined population by reading emails.

IGuided Coaching: Intentionally-guided coaching is a professional development and supervision methods that provide guided strategies, a way of thinking and a way of working that invite teachers to shape and reshape their thinking and problem solving capacities for the students.

World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA): WIDA is developed to advance academic language development and academic achievement for linguistically diverse students including ELLs through high quality standards, assessments, research, and professional development for educators.

Virtual Office: Virtual office is a location that exists only in cyberspace. A virtual office setup allows the instructors and students to work from any location by using technology such as laptop computers, cell phones and Internet access. A virtual office can provide significant savings and flexibility compared to having a traditional office space. Meetings can be conducted via teleconferencing and video conferencing, and documents can be transmitted and archived electronically.

Asynchronous Environment: Asynchronous environment does not require the simultaneous participation of students and instructors. It utilizes tools such as threaded discussion, listservs, and Voicethread, and it is neither time-bound nor place-bound.

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