Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018
Making meaningful connections: The role of the practice and portfolio coaches
Robert Lewis, University College
Excellent teaching happens by design
This presentation defines the unique role of the Coaches within the Practice and Portfolio (P&P) Team of the University College (UC) and how through making meaningful connections with students excellent teaching happens. P&P is responsible for the practical component of the College’s Associate Degrees (that is, applying theory to practice) and student development of skills, knowledge, and behaviour, through experiential education, or ‘learning by doing’ (Dewey, 1938, p. 20).
The Coach role was instituted to help achieve the first of the UC’s strategic goals, that is, ‘We set our students up to win’. UC students may have no ATAR, be many years out of formal education, or come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Coaches support students in their learning and assist them to develop and maintain their required Portfolio of Practice, which evidences their application of theory to practice and showcases their skills and knowledge development.
Coaches also maintain an active role in curriculum design and development. They create pedagogically sound learning and teaching resources that are available to students through a digital Bookcase and the Portfolio platform (PebblePad). Coaches establish relationships with unit coordinators, mentor teaching staff, and team-teach in tutorials and workshops.
Student feedback to date is encouraging and indicates strongly that the Coaches are having a positive effect on student learning. A student recently commented: ‘the Practice and Portfolio Team . . . are the ones who are guiding us through’ (C. Walker, 2018, pers. comm., 22 August). P&P Coaches, through direct student help, curriculum design, and staff mentoring, are helping students to win.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education, Touchstone, New York.