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Teaching Tips 210


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To coincide with International Coaching Week 2014 from May 19th to May 26th we are handing over the Tip to Séamus O'Muircheartaigh to explain what Coaching is in the following short article.

Seamus and Use Your Edge are offering you the opportunity to experience coaching first hand. Those who contact him at during International Coaching Week mentioning '' will be able to schedule a complimentary 30 minute coaching session by Skype. Your coaching session will be in English and will be scheduled during the month of June at the latest. If you would like to take up this coaching opportunity in Spanish you can also do so. Places for this offer of a complimentary coaching session are limited, so do get in touch as soon as you have taken the decision.


What is Coaching?

Coaching is a powerful, thought-provoking, collaborative and creative process that inspires great results where the coach in conversation, partners with the coachee to maximize the coachee's personal and professional potential. It is a relationship and process by which the coach facilitates the success of others through a belief in that person's ability to find their own solutions and to enhance their own performance.

Coaching accelerates the process closing the gap between where the coachee is now and where they ideally want to be. To support coachees in getting there, a coach will challenge you to go further than where you would normally stop and acts as a catalyst to discover options and ideas you might not have thought of alone. A coach will also keep you on track, accountable and focused on achieving your goals.

Coaching provides a useful set of beliefs systems and wide variety of tools to help teachers and those in education to get not only better results with their learners, but also be more effective inside and outside their classroom.

Coaching …

  • is non-directive and non-judgemental.
  • is goal-orientated.
  • focuses primarily on finding solutions.
  • does not always give advice.
  • has the belief that the coachee has the answers.
  • promotes a high degree of independence.
  • helps the coachee recognise their strengths.
  • enables the coachee to organise their resources.
  • supports the coachee to deal with obstacles.
  • gets the coachee to commit to a specific action plan.
  • encourages the coachee to be accountable for the actions they commit to.
  • enables the coachee to evaluate her/his progress.

Description: coach

Giving Someone the VIP Treatment – The History of Coaching

The history of coaching starts off back in a small 14th century Hungarian village located on the main road along the Danube between Vienna and Budapest. These two great cities needed well-built, fast vehicles that would carry more than two people over the bumpy roads of the day in as much comfort as was then possible. And so it
was that the important post-town of Kocs gave its name to the new vehicle type. It was there that they began to build superior wagons, carts and carriages. One of the best of these multi-horse carts was called, in Hungarian, "kocsi szekér" or a "wagon from Kocs". This Hungarian coach was highly praised because it was capable of holding 8 men, used light wheels, and could be towed by only one horse. Its design was so compact, elegant and sturdy that it spread throughout Europe. The German-speaking Viennese started to call this vehicle a 'Kutsche', which is how they heard Hungarians saying the name of their little carriage-making town. From Vienna these lively vehicles travelled to Paris and the French, adapting the Austrian word, called it a 'coche'. When it arrived in Rome in Italian, it was a 'cocchio'. Eventually, the English called it a coach. So it was that the first coaches took VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE from where they were – to where they wanted to go.

Coaching versus Counselling/Therapy versus Mentoring versus Consultancy

There can be some confusion over the differences between these different disciplines. So how is coaching different from other similar disciplines such as consulting, counselling or mentoring?

Though it is very simplistic definition and there are some forms of therapy that are of course, future focused, it is probably fair to say that counselling and therapy is typically about healing the past and dealing with emotional issues or traumas. Coaching on the other hand, works essentially by encouraging individuals to look at the present and the future and is all about is all about moving forward in your life.

When it comes to mentoring, people typically choose a mentor because the mentor knows something or are doing something that the person wants to know and do as well. It is most often about a transmission of information, experience or wisdom. There is usually a difference in status between the two people and as such mentoring tends to be directive and proscriptive. In coaching however, the coachee decides what the course of action will be and devises his/her own solution.

Consulting is the business of giving specialist advice to other professionals on a variety of business matters in a given situation or industry. They provide content and expert knowledge and typically come in to a group or an organisation and may or may not be part of the integration and implementation. The consultant takes responsibility for the project and is employed to deliver an end result. Coaching does not offer advice nor do coaches suggest that they are experts in the client's field. Working with a coach, people learn to recognise their strengths and through the coaching process the coachee can come to find their own solutions.

Remember that a coach will challenge you to go further than where you would normally stop and acts as a catalyst to discover options and ideas you might not have thought of alone. Your coach will keep you on track, accountable and focused on achieving your goals.

As we said before, the main role of a coach is to support their coachee to go from where they are to ideally where they want to be, to help them close that gap their present reality and the goal or outcome that they want to achieve. Closing that gap is a very dynamic process.

Essential Coaching Skills

There are a number of essential skills that great coaches use with their coachees, learners and fellow teachers and colleagues. These skills are the following

  • Creating Rapport & Listen Effectively
  • The Art of Discovery Questioning
  • Creating Awareness & Design Action
  • Setting Goals & Build Commitment
  • Acknowledging Performance & Celebrating Success

These skills need to be learned and with practice you can get great results when working with others.

One Coaching Skill – Powerful Discovery Questions

Powerful discovery questioning is at the core of effective coaching and it is the ability to ask questions that support the coachee to move forward. Coaching questions seek to uncover truth, clarify meaning, test commitment and open avenues of thought. Well-placed questions allow the coach to guide and direct the flow of the coaching interaction in
a direction that yields the most discovery, prompts the greatest change and is of optimal benefit for the coachee. In order to maximise effectiveness, it is important for a coach to free themselves of their own agenda and come to the coaching conversation with a sense of child-like curiosity.

The delivery of a coach's questions can determine its impact and can greatly affect its power, urgency, importance and directness to the coachee. It is useful to consider the following elements, your pace, your tone, your volume, your body language and how animated your voice is as well as of course, your words.

Some Benefits of Coaching for Learners and Teachers

Coaching improves performance and helps learners get better results.

It enhances an understanding of how learners think and learn.

It increases learners' self-awareness and helps learners to understand what might be holding them back when it comes to learning and performance.

Coaching encourages a solution-focused approach to development and change.

Coaching provides an enhanced awareness of the setting of realistic and manageable goals for oneself and others.

Coaching provides a deeper understanding of what motivates and improves motivation.

Learners are more involved in the learning process and coaching helps to develop learner autonomy.

Coachees feel really listened to.

It increases resilience and helps leaners to find practical solutions and decide on achievable action plans.

Coaching helps people to keep themselves accountable for the commitments they make.

It helps to improve relationships with classroom peers, teachers and others.

Coaching helps to develop essential self-management skills.

It provides an effective way to challenge negativity and limiting beliefs.

The STRIDE Coaching Conversation Model

Designed by Teachers for Teachers

There are many models out there to support coaches in their work with clients and coachees. Nonetheless, the STRIDE model is the only one that was designed by teachers for teachers. It was created by Will Thomas and is made up of six steps.
The process is a very interactive and organic one and provides teachers with a practical format to use in developing a coach approach in their work.

Awareness of the coachee's strengths

Drawing out strengths and developing resourceful states of mind

Agree a focus and challenge to work on

Developing and refining in the short, long and medium term to agree a focus and challenge to work on

Agree the present reality and what things need to change

Identifying blocks and overcoming them

Ideas and options
Help them to weigh up the options

Generating lateral and analytical thinking processes

Which option is best and commit to action?

Clarifying the right decision from a range of options and getting commitment

What has happened, over time, as the result of the commitment?

Reviewing progress, shaping future plans



The Perfect Teacher Coach by Jackie Beere & Terri Broughton

The Coaching Toolkit: A Practical Guide for Your School by Shaun Allison & Michael Harbour


Séamus Ó Muircheartaigh has been working in Spain as a teacher and CELTA and DELTA teacher trainer for over 20 years. He also works extensively on teacher development courses with primary and secondary school teachers for the Madrid Department of Education.

Use Your Edge

He is an Associate Trainer of NLP and a qualified coach working to ignite greater performance in business and educational contexts. He offers one-to-one coaching for learners and teachers as well as workshops and teacher development courses on coaching and NLP.

If you would like to find out more about coaching and NLP, you can visit as well as the Moodle website for all his courses at

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Museum Day 14

It's 'International Museum Day' on 18th May. Below are some ideas for the classroom. This year the theme is 'Museum collections make connections' - they say:'

This theme reminds us that museums are living institutions that help create bonds between visitors, generations and cultures around the world.
Museums are constantly facing changes that bring them to reconsider their traditional mission and to find new strategies to attract visitors towards more accessible collections. Thus many museums revamp the traditional methods of presentation of their collections in order to involve the community and to remain in touch with their public.
The museum is an institution that preserves and communicates the past, yet it is grounded in the present. In its very essence, it is a link between the generations, as it allows present and future generations to better comprehend their origins and history. This theme also emphasizes the collaborations between museums worldwide and their importance for cultural exchanges and the knowledge of the world’s cultures.

Here's the link to the Day's website:

Museum Day 14

If you do not already know about the Google Cultural Institute you must take a look, not only for personal interest but also for the wealth of visuals you can use in class:


Museums might seem to be a bit of a dry subject to some but it could be fun & easily tie in with units on art, likes/dislikes, discussion etc... Here are a few classroom ideas:

1. A few quotes to discuss:

"You should go to picture-galleries and museums of sculpture to be acted upon, and not to express or try to form your own perfectly futile opinion. It makes no difference to you or the world what you may think of any work of art. That is not the question; the point is how it affects you. The picture is the judge of your capacity, not you of its excellence; the world has long ago passed its judgment upon it, and now it is for the work to estimate you."
Anna C. Brackett (1836–1911), U.S. author. The Technique of Rest, ch. 4 (1892)

"Museums are the cemeteries of the arts"
Alphonse de Lamartine (French poet, writer and statesman, 1790-1869)

"Museums and art stores are also sources of pleasure and inspiration. Doubtless it will seem strange to many that the hand unaided by sight can feel action, sentiment, beauty in the cold marble; and yet it is true that I derive genuine pleasure from touching great works of art. As my finger tips trace line and curve, they discover the thought and emotion which the artist has portrayed."
Helen Keller American author and educator who was blind and deaf. 1880-1968)

"The murals in restaurants are on par with the food in museums."
Peter De Vries

"An ideal museum show would be a mating of Brideshead Revisited with House & Garden. provoking intense and pleasurable nostalgia for a past that none of its audience has had."
Robert Hughes (Australian art critic and author, b.1938)

"I seldom go into a natural history museum without feeling as if I were attending a funeral."
John Burroughs (American essayist and naturalist, 1837-1921)

"Attitudes to museums have changed. If it had Marilyn Monroe’s knickers or Laurence Olivier’s jockstrap they would flock to it."
Jonathan Miller (b. 1936), British doctor, humorist, director.
Daily Telegraph (London, June 7, 1989)

2. Museum discussions - a few questions:

1. Which are the most popular museums in your area?
2. Are museums popular in your country?
2. When was the last time you visited a museum?
3. Was this for a specific exhibition?
4. Are there any small museums in your area?
5. Can you think of a new museum that would be interesting to have in your area?
6. Do your museums charge for entry? How much?
7. Do you think museums should be free?

3. If your students are art-savvy, they could decide on 10 exhibits that they could have in their ideal museum. Then they could rank them in order of importance to humanity, most popular etc..

4. Students could work out a series of activities to promote Museum Day. The site suggests some activities for this:

After working in groups on ideas, they could compare with the ideas on the page & decide on five important action points.

5. Copy lots of paintings, sculptures etc from the internet, let the students decide which to put in their museum. Post the copies on the walls round the classroom, review the language of likes/preferences & let the students take as tour of the museum, discussing the different exhibits.

6. With the same pictures from the net, working on the language of present/past deduction, the students could try to place them in time - it could be from the 17th century....Poss. presented as a competition.

7. General picture activities - choose three & make up a story, imagine a history behind a painting & maybe compare with the real-life story....

8. Get some brochures & leaflets from local museums for discussion work. If they are in English all the better, but if not, the discussion will be in English. Maybe a short translation task of an excerpt of the brochure as well.

9. Writing - a for/against museums essay, about their favourite painting, letter to the editor.

10. History - if the topic is looking at a period in history, discuss/create a museum of the period.

11. Younger learners could create their own museum by drawing pictures, making things such as robots. This could be a museum for the future to reflect the moment, what they consider important day-to-day at this time in history, so they might draw a Game Boy, skateboard etc..

12. Check out Alicia's lesson ideas:

13. A few more links:

Check out the famous museums as most have virtual visits e.g.
The Prado Gallery Online
Yahoo's directory of museums.
'Your First Stop for Art Online! Discover over 100,000 works of contemporary art. Search by medium, subject matter, price and theme... research over 200,000 works by over 22,000 masters in the in depth art history section. Browse through new Art Blogs. Use our new advanced artwork search interface.'
International Council of Museums.;action=list
Unusual museums on the internet.

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Lear's Limericks


There once was an English teacher,
With one distinguishing feature.
Whether young or old,
All her students were told,
They were good, and all did believe her!

The unofficial Limerick Day, the birthday of Edward Lear, is on May 12th. Here are a couple of well known limericks by Edward Lear:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'

Edward Lear limerick image

There was a Young Lady whose chin,
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

Edward Lear limerick image

Edward Lear, A Book of Nonsense

First of all, the structure behind the limerick - It is a five line poem that consists of a triplet & a couplet. The 1st, 2nd & 5th lines rhyme, with 3 beats per line, while the 3rd & 4th lines rhyme, with two beats per line. The last line is usually the punch line.
Here's the class rhythm stucture - it can vary slightly:


Here are a few ways of using limericks:

For reception, limericks are good for helping students to become aware of rhythm. As you read out the limerick get them to beat the stress by knocking on their desks or clapping their hands. They can then go on to read limericks out loud to each other. See the links at the end for sources of limericks.

If you have cuisenaire rods, give out a couple of colours to each pair & ask them to represent the rhythm with the rods. To see this done on the site with nursery rhymes

Asking students to produce limericks can be fun but challenging. You might want to start off by giving some limericks with gaps the missing vocab jumbled up. The students have to choose the most appropriate word to fit the limerick. For example:

There once was a man from ______
Who interrupted two girls at their ______
Said he with a ______
"That park bench, ______
Just painted it right where you're ______

Missing parts:
well I
Great Britain

And another one:

There was a young woman named ______
Whose speed was much faster than ______
She set out one ______
In a relative, ______
And returned on the previous ______

Missing parts:

Then go on to giving out the first lines of 3 limericks & also the other lines all mixed up. Through the content & the rhythm, the students unjumble them all.

Then to the first line of a limerick to all of the students:

'There was an old man from Ham'

Brainstorm all the words they can think of that rhyme with 'Ham' - am, clam, cram, dam, damn, dram, gram, jam, lamb, ma'am, ram, Saddam, scam, slam, spam, swam, tram, wham. Then give out your list & go through them. The students then invent their own limerick. You could get them to rotate their limericks after each line, with a new pair adding the next line to each limerick. Treat it as a bit of fun & that their limericks can be as well, as wacky as they want.

Alternatively give the students the place & some rhyming word to choose from & work with:
Madrid - bid, hid, lid, kid, did
Dublin - bin, dim, kin, sin
New York - pork, fork, dork, cork

Here's another teaching-related limerick:

Democracy takes education
And commitment to the relation.
If people would come
With their homework all done,
There wouldn't be so much frustration.

Other Tips about using poetry:
Hopeful haikus:
Burns Night:

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