One of our ex coaches, Nditamani Mavhungu, has put together a list of ‘10 Top Coaching Tips‘ of things he wished he knew before his first session.
1. Language is a great barrier.
Most of our learners are not that good with the English language. Unfortunately, they cannot express themselves adequately in English. Code switching is recommended from time to time. However, you do not have to teach them Math in vernacular because they write tests in English and therefore using English will prepare them for the assessments.
2. Some learners are going to understand after three times or more.
Not all learners are on the same level when it comes to grasping the content. (NB: the slower students are not stupid, they need a push in the right direction). You must have a strategy to help them to understand and catch up with the ‘faster’ ones.
Alternatively pair them with the ‘faster’ ones and get them to learn from one another. #Itworks
3. Avoid answering your questions. Remember you are a coach, so facilitate learning.
These learners have encountered the content that you are teaching before and have a clue about what is happening. Be a coach and create a safe environment where they can learn and cooperate with no fear. Once you build a good rapport with them, then it is all systems go.
4. Sometimes your teaching method will conflict with that of their teacher and you must compromise.
There are many pedagogical strategies and some may clash with that of the main teacher. If learners tell you that they prefer it done this way because that is how their teacher taught them, you may need to alter your pedagogy because at the end of the day, it is about those learners getting concepts right.
5. You’ll have few discipline problems, deal with them then and there.
Do sweat any misbehavior. Do not excuse bad behavior no matter how small, deal with it the first time it occurs. If you leave it, it will give an impression that you tolerate such behavior. This must be practiced especially in the early days of your class.
6. Do not be too friendly with them, they will take advantage.
You are not there to make friends with the learners, therefore, maintain a professional relationship with them. Some will try to get your number or Facebook username, that is very tempting and sounds innocent, but avoid it at all cost(Befriending them on social network i.e. Facebook should be prohibited)
7.Have no favorites.
Love and care for the learners in the same way. No one should get special treatment. The moment that happens, some learners will realize it and it might frustrate and discourage them from working and can kill the morale and team spirit in class.
8. Learners are not completely clueless, they have an idea about what is happening, they just need to be channelled.
Learners are clued up about what is happening. They only need someone who can motivate and care for them enough to take them in the right direction.
9. They do what you do, not what you say.
Learners always do what you do. If you said that there shouldn’t be any eating in class and you eat, you are giving them permission to eat in the classroom. If you say they should not use a cell phone, but then use your cell phone while they are working in class, you are giving them permission to use their cell phones.
10. Always prepare. It helps with consistency and direction.
When you are not prepared, your learners are able to discern that and they end up taking control of the session.
Interested in becoming a coach? find out more about our teaching internship here.