Cybercoaching (and Constructivism)

I suppose I’ve had exceptional online learning experiences, because to me, cybercoaching and online learning are one and the same.  Perhaps this is a direct result of the fact that I have only encountered online education in graduate level courses, where intrinsic motivation and self-discipline both play valuable roles.  My performance in such courses was dependent upon the feedback and formative assessment inherent in cybercoaching.  In essence, doesn’t all teaching (and learning, for that matter) involve some form of coaching?

The coaching model is well-suited to constructivist pedagogy, but in a public K-12 environment (online or face to face), the constructivist approach must be viewed as a tool.  I support a more balanced approach to math instruction – a delicate balance between direct instruction and constructivism – with coaching serving as the glue that bonds these two, seemingly contradictory, approaches.  The video Math Instruction: An Inconvenient Truth highlights some of my concerns with a purely constructivist approach to math instruction, particularly at the K-12 level.  Nancy Pon’s egallery of research on constructivism (2001) led me to this enlightening quote:  “when you practice listening to students – as opposed to listening for THE response to your questions – you will begin to understand that constructivism isn’t about a method of teaching, but rather a way of thinking about teaching and learning” (Mikusa, 1999).

A pre-course survey for an online course provides one example of a constructivist approach in that completion of the survey encourages self-analysis and can provide information to the instructor that would allow him/her to better serve as a coach and facilitator.  This is a pre-course survey for an online Analytic Geometry elective that I created using polldaddy.  It will be included in my final project.


McDermott, M.J.  2007.  Math Instruction:  An Inconvenient Truth.  Retrieved on July 20, 2012 at  2006.    Available at

Pon, N.  2001.  Constructivism in the Secondary Mathematics Classroom.  University of Calgary.  Retrieved on July 22, 2012 at

Sandler. S.  2012.  Analytic Geometry Pre-Course Survey.  Retrieved on July 21, 2012 at


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