Tips from the pros: How to be a great learning coach
Learning coaches are important for student success
Learning coaches are a key part of the foundation we’re building for our learners at CCA. Student success is a team effort that relies upon a community of support that includes the teacher, the school community, the student and the learning coach.
"The learning coach prompts the student to communicate with the teacher, reassures the student when struggling with concept and skill mastery, and communicates with the teacher if the student needs extra help" said Amy Boyd, director of family services and federal programs. "The learning coach inputs daily attendance, monitors student lesson progress and assists the student with time management and task prioritization."
The following tips will help learning coaches be the most effective they can be:
- Set your learner’s routine — which includes breaks. While flexibility is one of the most rewarding benefits for CCA families, it’s important to establish the structure that works best for your learners and encourage them to follow it as responsibly as possible. “One of the struggles that exists is being able to take off the ‘parent hat’ and put on the (teacher's assistant) hat,” Boyd said. “Routines largely eliminate this power struggle by empowering kids to plan their own day and helping parents to maintain consistency and expectations. There is a sense of safety in routine, and it’s an essential component of success.”
- Prompt your learner to stay on task. Each child will require a different level of encouragement, but no matter what, help your learner to remain focused on one task at a time by minimizing distractions and providing motivation. “Learners will be tempted sometimes to look out of the window and daydream. A lot of families incorporate recess in the form of scheduled breaks and physical activities to keep kids engaged and allow them to unwind. In the older grades, this might happen by letting the learners take some downtime or go for a walk,” Boyd said.
- Approve completed lessons. “It’s important because it ensures that learners are keeping on task and making sure that lessons are not just rushed through — the quality of the work itself should be good. Learning coaches are essentially TAs and are a very important part of CCA,” Boyd said.
- Help your learner set up daily and weekly study schedules. Preparing these in advance will help to spread out the studying into realistic time increments, and creating a plan ahead of time will make it easier for the learner to stick to the commitment. An established routine will also make it easier for your learner to slip into “school mode” during the preplanned study time. "A daily or weekly study schedule keeps learners on track and accountable — even if this schedule is just 10 minutes a day to prepare for an upcoming math test," Boyd said.
- Mark attendance at the end of each day, and prepare for the next day’s lessons. “Marking attendance and taking time to prepare is key because it ensures that there are no surprises for tomorrow. It helps to eliminate that power struggle and keep productivity high for both learner and learning coach,” Boyd said.
Don’t forget: CCA faculty and staff are available and willing to answer questions and provide more insight to make this the best possible learning experience for your family.