Knight, J. Learning consulting: Translating research into practice. Stratenotes. 1998. 7(1) 1-3.
When we started studying onsite professional development, we used the term “Learning Consultant.” The first research was funded by the Office of Special Education, STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE: A model for preparing adolescents with mild disabilities to succeed in future educations and careers (1996-1999). Principalinvestigators on the study were Donald D Deshler and Jean B. Schumaker, and my research partner was Dr. Irma Brasseur-Hock.
This paper, published in our University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning publication Stratenotes, offers some very preliminary thoughts about the instructional coach as a translator of research. It explores the questions: What is a translator? And, if “learning consultants” translate research into practice, what does that mean for what they do? This is the first document I published, my early notes on what coaching is and what coaches could do.
- A translator identifies the essence of a work created in one culture or worldview and then reconstructs the work so that it can be appreciated by people living in another culture or worldview
- Staff developers understood as translators are people who need to know a great deal
- They must understand the essence of the content they want to make available to teacher.
- They must understand the culture and worldview of the teacherswith whom they are working.
- They must be able to transform the content they are making available so that it can be understood within a particular teacher’s world view
- Learning consultants are staff developers who focus their efforts on reframing research so teachers can see how it is relevant to their most immediate concerns
- A learning consultant is part coach and part anthropologist
- Although each learning consultant approaches the work uniquely, he or she follows a generic model involving eight components
- Meeting one to one with department teams to explain what they do
- Meeting one-to-one with interested teachers
- Immediately working on real content
- Establishing a partnership
- Paying for teachers’ time
- Making it as easy as possible for teachers to implement new practices
- Providing support