Literacy coaching through teachers' lenses: a phenomenological study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie Lee Davis (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Barbara Levin

Abstract: With the federal initiatives of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, many school districts are employing literacy coaching in their quest to improve reading test scores. This study seeks sought to understand teachers’ perceptions of literacy coaching to answer this primary research question: “What meanings do teachers make of literacy coaching?” Additional questions of interest included how teachers described their literacy coaching experiences, how administrators influenced literacy coaching at their school, what teachers perceived as effective literacy coaching, and the participants’ professional development needs related to literacy coaching. Research has suggested that instructional coaching can provide the support that teachers need (Guskey, 2000; International Reading Association, 2006). However, to maximize the benefits of instructional literacy coaching for teachers, it is important to understand what actually makes coaching effective from the perspective of teachers receiving coaching. Unfortunately, there is currently very little research that actually explores the meanings that teachers make regarding literacy coaching. Therefore, this study sought to understand literacy coaching from teachers’ perspectives. Using a phenomenological approach, six teachers from three Title I elementary schools were interviewed three times each following Seidman’s (2006) interview model. The data analysis process consisted of decontextualization and recontextualization (Starks & Trinidad, 2007). During decontextualization, data were sorted by the teachers’ responses according to each interview question and highlighting key words in order to compare and contrast the responses and also to help identify main categories. During the recontextualization phase, a second level of coding was used to merge significant words, phrases, or events that recurred across all interviews into themes. These themes were used to describe major ideas that emerged from the data to describe the participants’ lived experiences of literacy coaching. The findings of this study suggested that teachers welcome literacy coaching because they seek to become more effective teachers. A trusting and open relationship was found to be key in the coaching process, as was clear communication. The findings also indicated that school administrators can positively or negatively influence literacy coaching. In addition, teachers desired literacy coaches who took a hands-on approach to coaching by being actively involved in their own professional development and not just being a disseminator of information from the school or district administrators. The results of the study led to several implications for literacy coaches, school administrators, and district administrators. Ideas for future research were also provided.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Instructional coaching, Literacy coaching, Phenomenology, Reading coach, Reading support
Literacy $x Study and teaching (Elementary)
Language arts (Elementary)
Elementary school teachers $x Attitudes
Effective teaching
Teaching teams

Email this document to