I recently attended a seminar on teaching critical thinking hosted by the University of Louisville.
There were several “table exercises” which were brief discussions on various topics. I found myself at a table with people from Dental Hygiene, School of Medicine, and School of Engineering. I don’t even remember how the topic arose, but the question was, “What is the difference between teaching and coaching, and which do we do?” That question has haunted me since. Maybe I should tone that down some and say that the question has been on my mind since.
When I was looking for the link to Steve Blank’s article for my previous posting, I found this article:
Mr. Blank carries my original question step further and includes mentoring. He provides some guidance as to the difference. However, he does not provide the answer as to which do I do.
In a classroom or online setting, I mostly teach. As Mr. Blank puts it, “At worst I deliver knowledge to them. At best, I try to help my students to discover and acquire knowledge themselves.” It is the last part of his quote that I strive for, but I am never satisfied with my attainment.
In a small lab setting, I hope I do a mixture of coaching and teaching. Sometimes, I am coaching undergrads in a specific skill that might be needed in upcoming job coop rotations.
It is the mentoring that perplexes me. Mr. Blank refers to mentoring as a “back and forth dialogue.” I am very fortunate to have a colleague that has been a mentor when it comes to teaching and navigating academia. Having had 30+ years out in industry before coming to academia, I would like to think that I provide some mentoring to some students, but I never thought about it as a two-way street.
Hmmmm…. mentoring as a two-way street… that might haunt me for a while.