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Some coaches know the content that their learners are tackling. However, not every coach feels comfortable being the teacher. If you don't know the content, that's okay!

Here are a few simple ways a coach can help without needing to know the material upfront:

1. Learn with them

Education is about learning how to approach new problems and content all the time. Role modeling this behavior can be incredibly powerful. Practice skills, actively watch videos, create CS programs alongside the learners. Explore the data together. Treat them as a peer as you learn.

Ask each other questions and discuss what you are learning. This can also be a great way to bond.

2. Be the cheerleader

Sometimes a coach is most powerful as a cheerleader. Encouragement can take you pretty far. Telling someone to "keep up the hard work" or "try one more time" encourages perseverance and helps motivate learners. Knowing a few tricks like encouraging them to watch the video lesson, to look through the hints, and to take notes on questions that they have for their teacher can be good fallbacks to ensure that the resources available are being maximized.

One afterschool instructor said, "When the kids get a problem wrong, they don't need me to tell them the answer. The hints do that. They just need to vent about what went wrong and then they can move on and do the next problem."

Tip: Use the data!

One parent notes, "The data reports are so helpful. I check to see how many problems my kid tried and if they watched the video. If I don't see the camera symbol, I know they haven't watched the video and I tell them to check it out. If I don't see the question mark symbol, I know they didn't look at any hints, so I nudge them to take a few."

Took hints

If you do know the content

Many content-expert coaches facilitate learning by providing alternative explanations and examples when the learner does not understand the available material. A couple examples of when a coach may get involved include:

  • When a learner has not mastered a particular topic, a coach might investigate if the student has watched the corresponding video or used the hints, or if the student has tried a sufficient number of problems. If yes in both cases, then the coach might take the learner aside to do a separate tutorial.

  • When a learner continues on a specific skills far past mastery, a coach may inquire why the student is working on that skill (are you working towards a specific badge? are you afraid to move to the next topic?). From there, the coach can determine whether or not to encourage the student to move onto the next skill.