Last night, I sat down with my second grader to help him with his homework. It was a combination of math worksheets and reading practice. As always, I saw the math worksheets and totally lost my motivation to make him fill them out. Why? Because they are simple addition fact sheets (4+6, 7+2). His math group at school has been working exclusively on subtraction for months. He can knock out those single digit worksheets very quickly, without really thinking about them.
They don’t have any learning value for him, and they don’t help him improve any skills. Plus, he dislikes doing them – which makes him less motivated to do any homework. Why should I make him?
My son’s teacher has to send home homework. It’s a rule at the school. She complies by sending something home each week, and asking students to send it back. I don’t have any reason to think she even grades it. She certainly has never said anything when we fail to turn it in. It is painfully clear that we are only doing it to check a box.
Why am I telling you about my kid’s math worksheets? Because it illustrates a common training and coaching trap that I see just as frequently at agencies as I do at elementary schools: treating training and coaching like a checklist. Something to be done because it is required – not to help the staff or the families.
When we treat training and coaching like a checklist – like something we need to do and not something to improve learning and skills – this decreases motivation and engagement to learn. It decreases your credibility as a coach. It decreases the efficacy and fidelity of your program as a whole.
This is why flexibility and individualized coaching have to be at the heart of your MiiWrap learning program. This is hard to do in a big classroom setting. It is much easier with a strong eLearning curriculum and clear coaching goals. But those assets aren’t enough alone. You as a coach and your program as a whole have to be committed to real learning.
The process of learning can be messy, and hard to predict. But the alternative is much bleaker – failure to learn. I think we both know what the families enrolled in your services hope you are choosing.