Loyola University Chicago

School of Education


Academic Coaching

Successful athletic coaches usually have a playbook full of winning game plans they use to face each opponent. As an academic coach, the different teaching strategies listed here may help you guide the students on your team toward greater academic success. Varying your delivery models or “game plan” also helps make learning more interesting.

  • Invest in your group. Every good coach gets to know the team before putting people in positions and designing plays...Spend some time talking about academics with your group. Ask about their teachers. Discover each student’s strengths & weaknesses. Articulate your weaknesses so they don’t think you’re a know-it-all.
  • Allow students to discover answers through your guided questioning and explaining, don’t just tell them the answers. Remember, as a coach, most of your time should be spent asking questions, listening, and helping the student think for himself/herself.
  • Let students become coaches. If one student understands something and another does not, allow the knowledgeable student to teach. The knowledge will be more salient for both.
  • Model problem solving. If a student does not know the answer at all, show him/her the process by which you would solve the problem.
  • Encourage your students to realistically monitor themselves. Help students identify habits or behaviors that impede their progress. What can they do to improve their weaknesses? How can you help?
  • Sincerely praise student success. Students will know if you are faking it.
  • Extend your influence beyond the study session. Be intentional about the weekly goals you set together. Encourage your students to go to every class during the week. Stress the impact of class attendance on their grades…they can’t be “in the know if they don’t go.”
  • Help students understand the relevance of learning. Students need to understand why school and learning are important. As you’re working on different homework assignments with them, try to think of real life instances when the skill they are building will be needed.
  • Make it fun! Students come to these sessions because they get the education without the drudgery of school. This is your chance to show them that learning doesn’t have to be boring.