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How to Entangle - Coaching

The role of coaches in Entangled Learning is to provide the minimum amount of assistance possible to effectively nudge the community members in a direction that enables them to be self-directed in their practice. The more one person does to make the learning task easier, the less learning happens and the more dependency is established.


The coach’s primary tool is asking questions to reinforce reflection and integration. Coaches make no decisions for the communities; likewise, they are not accountable for the community’s results. coaches model information-seeking and working within a community. Discussion should always direct the community back to the relevant goals as a context for decision-making.


As a new learning community was forming, coaches planned team-building activities so that they could meet each other and begin to develop relationships based on trust and empathy. The coaches modeled care for each other as well as collaboration and problem-solving skills.

Students learning their material in the early weeks of an Engineering course met to discuss the concepts that were difficult. They didn't understand the purpose of documenting their learning, which, in part, is to make their learning visible and to be reminders for later review.  One student asked how another solved a problem.  The coach suggested that the student work the problem on the white board so everyone could see. Another student solved the problem differently and wrote it on the white board as well. When the first student analyzed the differences between the two solutions, the coach urged her to take a photograph of the two problems on the board and upload them into their documentation for that day's community of practice session, along with an explanation of how the differences between the two correct solutions. As the session continued, each time a community member had an "aha!" moment, the coach suggested that they add that insight to their documentation. By the end of the session, more than half of the community members had added to the documentation. One person's reflection said this had been the most effective community meeting so far in the semester.

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