Welcome to our learner coaching blog

We’ve created this blog to share experiences and discuss ideas about how teachers can help learners practise English more outside class and learn more effectively in class, through taking a coaching approach in the classroom.

We wrote a series of 6 articles in ETP magazine about this. Click on the links above to read short versions of the articles. We have also prepared some material which helps students practise English on their own outside class.

We are interested to hear your responses to these ideas and some of your experiences. Here are some questions to get us started. Please use the comment box below to answer them.

  • Do you consider any aspects of your teaching to be ‘coaching’. What?
  • If you have used this approach with your learners, what results have you had?
  • In you opinion, what are the differences between a coach and a teacher?
  • What are the pros and cons of taking a coaching rather than a teaching role?
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4 Responses to Welcome to our learner coaching blog

  1. Katy Kelly says:

    I was at the Aceia talk on Saturday in Sevilla and think it is a very interesting a valuable area for several reasons really. I have found, both teaching in London and in Spain, that the concept of learning (and in turn teaching) goals are often institutionally driven, for one and more and more now, globally and economically defined. So in London, I was continuously confronted with learners who were dead set on IELTS -often this was a “I must have some ILETS” 🙂 conversation, which lead on to vague concepts of future achievements in some sector of further academia. In Spain I have found learners obsessing over FCE (sorry Cambridge nothing personal), again in some cases as a result of a notion of future economic security as a result of this holy grail style achievement. What I feel the coaching idea brings is also an opportunity to explore goals and ones ‘language life’ in a way which may be currently pushed aside or subconscious. Allowing goals to be personal and not necessarily grandiose I think may well contribute positively to a students ‘language life’ beyond the time they spend with you in class and in an academic year.
    Well I’m intending to try out some coaching with two teen classes, who are currently suffering exam pressure and English fatigue. I hope they’ll get something positive out of it and I’ll get to learn more about concepts of targets and achievement.
    Hope I haven’t taken your ideas here down some unintended path and the above makes sense, not just to me 🙂
    Katy Kelly

    • Hi Katy,

      Thanks ever so much for your valuable comment. It does make sense, and we’d like the path the blog takes to be determined less by us and more by you, so thanks for steering us in new directions!

      I’ve taught in London and experienced the IELTS drive first hand. My students were mostly Chinese and Korean and I used to be fairly disillusioned by their one-tracked motivation to get a 6.5, o whatever it was. TOEFL was even worse because it gave them so little interest to even speak English. However, I do now see such extrinsic motivations as extremely valuable – without them our learning lacks focus and direction. What’s more, these pressures to learn are in most cases very powerful. These aren’t students who will skip class or fail to do their homework, are they?

      Katy, what do you think we can do to broaden their interest so that their language life becomes more than practice paper after practice paper?

  2. Thanks Graham,
    Great to get some interest immediately :o) And it’s fitting that you’re coming to it from the point of view of teacher development; firstly, because (and I think I can speak for both of us here) Duncan and I believe in the blurring of distinctions between teacher and learner development in many respects, and secondly, because Duncan in particular holds teacher development close to his heart. He’ll thank me for mentioning his book at this point! You may well have seen it ;o)

    The Developing Teacher, by Duncan Foord (DELTA Publishing)

    Look forward to hearing from you again.

  3. Interesting idea for a blog, Dan. I’ve been following the ETP articles with interest because I’m part of a EU project (http://aplanet-project.org/) that aims to pilot the use of coaching/mentoring to introduce the value of social networking and the building of a PLN (Personal Learning Network) for the professional development of language teachers. This is of course very different from what you and Duncan have written about, because it will all be online, and subsidiary to what a teacher but related – look forward to reading more on this blog.

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