Coaching Our Way to the Future
by afros1 on March 14, 2014 - 7:46pm
Providing quality education and enriching environment for children with disabilities has been a difficult task for the education system. One of the major issues facing schools is that many of the programs offered to train early childhood teachers do not have coursework that explains how to manage disabled children. The majority of early educators reported they felt unprepared to work disabled children. One of the methods aimed at aiding both the teacher and disabled student is the model of coaching. Coaching is described as a “cyclical or stage driven process” that encourages and drives kids on an individual basis. Coaching students, instead of the traditional schooling methods, will allow teachers to observe the children in a more natural environment, allow for more individualized goal oriented tasks, and more positive and constructive feedback.
The goal of the experiment in this article was to implement the ASAP (The Advancing Social-communication and Play) coaching method and to compare it with other methods of teaching. The ASAP method is separate from evaluation or supervision, promotes self-assessment and experimentation, and necessitates a trusting, respectful relationship between participating adults (Wilson, 2012, p. 97-105). Six self-contained preschool classrooms, from a local district, that contained students with developmental disabilities were chosen for this experiment. Three groups of two classrooms each were chosen in order to assess the impact of the coaching model. One group received the ASAP coaching and intervention manual. The second group received the ASAP trainings, intervention manual, and ongoing structural support. The third group did not receive any training, coaching, or manual support. The results of the experiment showed an increase in progress in social-communication and play skills. It also gave the professionals a greater sense of the goals each child needed as well as effective changes to each child’s educational practices.
The article greatly interested me in that it dealt with a more hands on method of teaching. Coming from a school that often separated the disabled students from the general population, it was heartwarming to know that there is a method of interacting and educating students with disabilities on a more individual and goal oriented basis. I thought the article was well written in that it provided background information on the ASAP coaching method, the different methods used in the experiment, and how the method could be revolutionary to the education system. The study, however, is only in the pilot stage and needs more data to be conclusive.
Wilson, K.P, Dykstra, J.R., Watson, L.R., Boyd, B.A., Crais, E.R.. (2012). Coaching in early education classrooms serving children with autism: a pilot study. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40: 97—105.