Traversing Bridges


Thanks Gerry Balding on Flickr for making this image available.


Learning over a lifetime is …

…a gradual traversing of a succession of increasingly more elaborate bridges … First, we need to know which bridge we are on. Second, we need to know how far along the learner is in traversing that particular bridge. Third, we need to know that, if it is to be a bridge that is safe to walk across, it must be well anchored on all sides, not just the culminating side. We cannot overattend to where we want the student to be — the far side of the bridge — and ignore where the student is. (pgs. 60-61)

~From Robert Kegan’s chapter “What ‘Form’ Transforms?” in Jack Mezirow’s (2000) Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress.


This Could Have Been At Marylhurst

Remember back a few posts ago when I said that sometimes we need help to learn? And it’s true that most times, as adults, we don’t want to ask for it.  Which is silly, right? Right?!


Well, a student shared this video with our Mentoring and Peer Coaching class last night.  She thought it nicely represented many of the concepts that we’ve been studying this term — that to learn, we can benefit from a coach, a cheerleader, some outside help, some more outside help, scaffolding, feedback, support, more support, and ultimately, we will be able to do it on our own.  Success!

I couldn’t agree more!

Plus, this could have been at Marylhurst:

Marylhurst Squirrel Entering BP John Lobby (1 of 1,000,000)

Mentoring & Peer Coaching

This coming Winter term I will be teaching a new course for our Education department in the Teacher Leadership certificate program called Mentoring & Peer Coaching. In addition to my “other” job (oh – and this other job too!),  I am busy thinking about the course schedule, reviewing texts, reading articles, and creating the syllabus.

Mentoring Teachers

Though I try my very best to practice these principles in all the work I do, it’s been a while since I’ve actually done faculty development formally in this way. I would love some feedback from anyone who is willing — below is the draft Course Description and Learning Outcomes. What do you think?

Course Description

Peer coaching and mentoring practices can be effective methods for enhancing new and veteran teachers’ professional development and personal growth, as well as supporting systemic program improvement. This course focuses on developing learners’ mentoring and peer coaching knowledge and skills in order to support their development as effective teacher-leaders.  Learners review theoretical literature and acquire and apply knowledge and skills needed for mentoring beginning teachers and working collaboratively with veteran colleagues on improving instruction and, ultimately, student learning.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, learners will:

  • Understand the connections among effective peer coaching / mentoring;  teacher efficacy, confidence, and satisfaction; student learning; and educational program effectiveness.
  • Identify and use the various skills and tools for effective peer coaches / mentors.
  • Reflect on effective processes and practices of peer coaching / mentoring.
  • Determine the various conditions in which effective peer coaching / mentoring take place.
  • Describe the challenges that peer coaching / mentoring can present and identify resources and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Analyze the impact and outcomes that effective peer coaching / mentoring can have on beginning and veteran teachers, as well as on the coach / mentor.
  • Demonstrate the capacity of mind required of supportive and reflective teacher-leaders.
  • Develop and implement a specific “Coaching Plan” for incorporating new knowledge and skills in workplace environments.


A Bow & An Arrow

With a good old friend, I am revisiting a good old friend, the book Mentor, by Larry Daloz. I got to chapter 8 and I ran across this quote again, which I loved the first and second times I found it. Now, though, I am inspired to commit it to memory:

I must only warn you of one thing. You have become a different person in the course of these years. For this is what the art of archery means: a profound and far-reaching contest of the archer with himself. Perhaps you have hardly noticed it yet, but you will feel it very strongly when you meet your friends and acquaintances again in your own country: things will no longer harmonize as before. You will see with other eyes and measure with other measures. It has happened to me too, and it happens to all who are touched by the spirit of this art.
-Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery