A closer look at instructional coaching: lessons from two schools' successful implementations of job-embedded professional development

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melissa Jill Hall (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Kimberly Hewitt

Abstract: Professional development is an investment for districts and schools because it aims to positively impact student achievement by increasing the efficacy and performance of teachers. District and school leaders are charged with selecting and implementing adult learning aligned with district and school visions for instruction, in order to provide teachers with innovative, high quality professional development experiences. Instructional coaching has emerged as a popular form of job-embedded professional development in the last decade because it provides teachers with support through modeling, demonstration, observation/feedback, and reflection. This multi-site case study involved closely examining the instructional coaching models of two high schools that have experienced success with coaching as professional development for teachers. The schools were selected because they have implemented instructional coaching as their primary professional development model for more than two consecutive years and attribute gains in student achievement at least in part to their coaching initiatives. The goal of my study was to identify key components and strategies for implementing a successful instructional coaching program. Through interviews of 20 participants, including coaches, principals, and teachers, and reviews of important documents and artifacts, I was able to answer the primary research question of what can be learned from an exemplary implementation model of instructional coaching. To answer the primary research question, I focused on two secondary questions: (a) What are the roles of the key players (principals, coaches, and teachers) in a successful coaching model?, and (b) What are the most important influences in successful coaching programs? This research found that principals must be actively engaged in the instructional coaching process with strong support for the coach/teacher relationship. Strong leadership is vital to the success of coaching initiatives. Coaches must be highly skilled in both pedagogical knowledge and interpersonal relations in order to build strong, trusting relationships with teachers and must build and maintain impeccable systems of communication with the principals and teachers they serve. The coach/teacher relationship should be a partnership where teachers are given voice and choice in the coaching process. This research also substantiates the value of instructional coaching in building strong professional learning communities and teacher leadership through a strong commitment to a culture of open and honest dialogue around teaching and learning. My study has found that job-embedded coaching can be a highly successful initiative to improve teacher practice when implemented strategically.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Instructional Coaching, Instructional Leadership, Job-Embedded Coaching, Professional Development, Staff Development
High school teachers $x In-service training
Professional learning communities
School improvement programs
Mentoring in education
Educational leadership

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