We will write a custom Book Review on Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The Most Appealing Ideas Expressed by the Authors
The book called “Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools” was written by Arthur Costa and Robert Garmston in the middle of the 1990s. This book explores a very interesting perspective on teaching that seems to have an intuitive value, meaning that there is no doubt about its importance. However, this perspective is normally not the first point of view that the scholars would research looking for ways and methods helping to increase the effectiveness of teaching.
To be more precise, Costa and Garmston (1994) focus on the concept known as cognitive coaching. Namely, the authors offer moving the attention from the techniques used and the learners’ perception and capabilities to the cognitive processes of the teachers – the mechanisms that are responsible for their reflection on the experiences, reaction to various situations, and formulation of the instruction. The authors emphasize that a cognitive coach can be recognized for the employment of such techniques as educative questioning, paraphrasing, and pausing for a purpose to encourage and enable the learners’ skills of creative decision-making, problem-solving, planning, reflective thinking (Costa & Garmston, 1994).
In other words, the authors point out that the specific cognition and perception of a teacher are to be studied as the processes that enforce learning. This approach puts the educators in control of the learning process through their own actions and thinking. In addition, the skills of a successful cognitive coach involve the ability to work with versatile types of learners in terms of personality and styles of learning and cognition. All in all, the authors emphasize the advantages of a cognitive coach due to his or her professional flexibility and adaptability (Costa & Garmston, 1994). Moreover, the skills of a cognitive coach are quite universal and can be learned and applied by educators with different backgrounds, styles, and professional philosophies.
The Implications of the Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator
The idea discussed in the section above implies that the behavioral patterns of a teacher affect the students’ learning and comprehension; as a result, the teacher is viewed as being in a higher degree of control over the learning process. In other words, apart from the explicit effects, a teacher is capable of producing on the class, there are implicit influences that exist in the form of the internal cognition, reflection, and reaction of an educator making him or she perceive the classroom environment and dynamics in an individual way that forms the unique future approach to various issues.
Practically, the techniques used by a cognitive coach are very similar to those of an average educator; however, each response or request of such a teacher is designed in a way to produce a deeper cognitive motivation of the learners and a better understanding of their reactions.
One of the most significant features of a cognitive coach is an ongoing self-reflection. In general, this practice is very important and valuable for any type of teacher. For a cognitive coach, it is the basis that comprises their approach to work. This idea implies that a cognitive coach should possess a high degree of emotional maturity and self-awareness in order to be successful at reflecting on his or her own experiences and results. For me, as an educator, this aspect of cognitive coaching implies the need to improve my capacity for self-reflection, self-awareness, and emotional maturity. These tasks may seem challenging, but there are techniques that help professionals in various fields to achieve progress in these areas of personal development.
The Ideas of the Authors That I Challenge
The ideas of Costa and Garmston (1994) are mainly based on the techniques that rely on the smart and effective use of language in order to achieve better results communicating the tasks and instructions and understanding the learners’ impressions. In other words, the authors connect cognition with language and create a way of intentional or spontaneous self-reporting of experiences by learners, as well as educators. That way, the main point of cognitive coaching is to facilitate and maintain the successful and effective exchange of information between the participants of the teaching/ learning process.
This key factor is the idea that I challenge. I believe that many learners may struggle with language and verbal self-expression. This problem may occur due to various reasons. One of them the students not being the native speakers of the same language the educator speaks and teachers in. As a result, most of the questions designed specifically to gather detailed information about the learner’s impression of the lesson and class material may not work properly or result in the provision of false or distorted information.
In other words, the verbal and communication techniques of the cognitive coaching offered by Costa and Garmston assume that both the teacher and the learner are equally eloquent and possess rich vocabularies for clear and comprehensive self-expression. However, this is not always the case, which may serve as a limitation for both parties.
Costa, A. & Garmston, R. (1994). Cognitive Coaching: A Foundation for Renaissance Schools. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.