The Power of One-on-One

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

I love seeing more and more schools move to the 1:1 concept – linking each student with their own computer and in turn a globalize/collaborative learning environment. It is my goal to someday work in such an environment. In the mean time, I am focusing on another form of one-on-one.

Over the course of the last 10 years I’ve been a professional development provider, primarily in the area of literacy and ESL. I’ve witnessed some amazing work when full staffs move toward a common vision for student success. Over the last few years I’ve also taken on the role as an Instructional Coach.

One of the greatest opportunities I have, as an Instructional Coach, is to work one-on-one with teachers, administrators and students. Coming together to form partnerships with each of these groups is what makes my work so enjoyable. Sharing discoveries of the world of Web 2.0 has been a great way to connect with teachers and administrators on a one-on-one basis during the course of this new school year.

Today I started reading Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson. A statement made very early in the book reassured me I’m heading in the right direction in my journey into the world of Web 2.0. Richardson states, “Before you attempt to bring these technologies to your students, first be selfish about their use in your own learning practice.” (p.8) My focus has been to start to use various Web 2.0 tools myself in order to figure out their potential in the classroom. In doing so, I’ve set up a Wiki of the various tools I’ve found helpful in my journey. For the most part, my learning partnerships are with teachers and administrators. At first I set the wiki up for local educators, but have decided to share it with others. It does no good just sitting there with limited use. Feel free to check out: LearnGrowLead.

This past week I attended two enlightening online sessions!

  • “Parents as Partners” presented by Aviva Dunsiger. This session is archived at  EdTechTalk.

I highly suggest viewing both of sessions to learn more about how to use Web 2.0 with students in order to build global collaborative learning environment. Both sessions opened my eyes even more to the potential that awaits our students. Even though many others attended these sessions, I felt as though both teachers were relating one-on-one to each of the participants. Each person was able to take away new learning and ideas specific to his or her needs on their Web 2.0 journey.

Zoe reminded participants in today’s session to reach out and involve others, even if that has to be in a one-to-one situation.

This past week I had three such experiences.  Jim Knight’s instructional coaching training focuses on “The Partnership Principles.” (Equity, Choice, Voice, Reflection, Dialogue, Praxis) Keeping these in clear focus guides my work each day. This week’s one-on-one time with teachers & administrators that come to mind align with the principles of equity, choice and voice.

EquityPartnership involves relationships between equals. (Knight, 2004)

  • The learning process happens at any age and at any time. This week the collective experience and skills came together to integrate a new piece of technology. It took the understanding of the tool from the student teacher, the willingness to try something new from the classroom teacher, and the partnering with an instructional coach to problem solve the efficiency and effectiveness of the new approach.

ChoiceIn a partnership, one individual does not make decisions for another. (Knight, 2004)

  • Students, and adults alike, need choice. Two of my schools are providing teachers with an introduction to Twitter. Both recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach would be counterproductive. Therefore, teachers are able to choose whether they want to attend. This week I had the opportunity to provide a one-on-one intro to a first grade teacher. Instead of being disappointed that only one teacher chose to attend, I was thrilled to have the chance for some great one-on-one dialogue.

VoicePartnership is multi-vocal rather than uni-vocal. (Knight, 2004)

  • When we are in trusting relationships, we are more likely to feel like our voices are wanted, appreciated, and heard. This week I experienced many positive voice-related partnerships. One in particular involved planning an upcoming unit with a teacher. As we planned we drew upon each other strengths. Many ideas were brought to the planning table that helped define the concepts and strategies for the unit as well as integrate some Web 2.0 tools.

Not a day goes by that I don’t stand in awe of the teachers and administrators I work with. Interacting globally has opens new doors to my learning and many more educators to admire. Each partnership, whether in person or virtually, proves the power of one-on-one relationships!

Jim Knight introduced me to this series of videos: Play for Change – Song around the World. Enjoy! Let’s stand by each other!

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.


  • Aviva @grade1 26 Sep

    I love your blog post, Kathy! Thank you so much for mentioning my presentation in it too. I’m so glad that you could come and that you found it useful too! I think that we really do learn so much from each other, and it’s great to continue to learn and grow based on the new ideas that we get each day!


    • kmp444 26 Sep

      Thanks for the wonderful comments, Aviva. Your presentation was so enlightening. It was great to see how you integrate technology into your daily routine. I love learning from everyone. My goal is to take that learning to the next level – to empower students, just as you are! Thanks for the great examples!

  • gret 26 Sep

    Great post Kathy! I think that sharing and collaboration are so important in learning! I think 1:1 can be really powerful!
    I liked what you said: “Let’s stand by each other” That’s what makes the difference. If we educators stand by each other so many greater things will be done!

    • kmp444 26 Sep

      Thanks, Greta! We do need to stand by each other whether near or far! I love the connectivity of Twitter and other Web 2.0 tools. We are never alone when we collaborate!

  • Susan Young 26 Sep

    I enjoyed your post since it all rings true. Loved your celebration of your personal one-on-one this week and the clear guidelines for satisfying partnerships: equity, choice, and voice.

    • kmp444 26 Sep

      Thanks, Susan. I love the Partnership Principles. They are are helpful for ongoing reflection!

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