Source: Instructional Coaching: A K-12 Professional Development Model to Support Implementation of Culturally Responsive Teaching dissertation by Suzanne Wattenbarger Burke, PhD (2010)

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  1. Instructional coaching is a job-embedded professional development model for teachers which is gaining increasing attention in K-12 educational settings (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005; Kise, 2006; Knight, 2007; Lindsey, Martinez, Lindsey, 2007; Showers, 1984; West & Staub, 2003)
  2.  a culturally proficient coaching model focused on teachers being responsive to diverse populations of students, and they assert that “coaching and cultural proficiency are integrated sets of tools for guiding individuals and groups to meet cross-cultural issues as opportunities and assets rather than as challenges and deficits” (p. 4).
  3.  One professional development model that may be considered a process is instructional coaching which is an intensive, ongoing, job-embedded professional development model that advocates propose to support the implementation of proven teaching methods (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005; Knight, 2007; Showers, 1984; West & Staub, 2003).
  4.  Key components of Knight’s instructional coaching model include: (1) focus on professional practice, (2) job-embedded professional learning experiences, (3) intensive and ongoing support, (4) dialogical interaction, (5) nonevaluative support, (6) confidentiality, and (7) respectful communication (2007).
  5. Knight (2007) further posits that in the description of the teacher-coach relationship, having strong communication skills (especially listening skills on the part of the coach), making emotional connections, and taking a partnership approach are key to the development of effective teacher-coach relationships.
  6.   in a quantitative study investigating the relationship between student achievement and teacher efficacy, Ross (1992) suggests that coaching is a powerful strategy for school improvement
  7. It has been further suggested by Glickman (1986) that the type of feedback teachers receive should be based on their cognitive levels which he identifies as low abstract, moderate-abstract, and high-abstract. Through these categories, Glickman suggests that 
    1. teachers with a low-abstract cognitive style should receive directive conferences that identify problems and solutions – which come directly from the coach or supervisor. 
    2. Teachers with moderate-abstract cognitive styles should receive collaborative conferences in which there is an exchange of perceptions about problems and solutions are negotiated. Finally, 
    3. teachers with high-abstract cognitive styles should receive a nondirective approach wherein the coach assists the teacher in clarifying problems and choosing a course of action
  8. Instructional coaches often have complex, multifaceted roles, and they often fill multiple roles simultaneously. Killion & Harrison (2006) suggest the following 10 roles of instructional coaches: (1) resource provider, (2) data coach, (3) instructional specialist, (4) curriculum specialist, (5) classroom supporter, (6) learning facilitator, (7) mentor, (8) school leader, (9) catalyst for change, and (10) learner.
  9.  Coaching is conceptualized in varied ways and researchers have described several distinctive coaching approaches with unique goals and methods, e.g. peer coaching (Showers, 1984), classroom management coaching (Sprick, Knight, Reinke, 18 & McKale, 2006), content-focused coaching (West & Staub, 2003), and blended coaching (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005), challenge coaching (Garmston, 1987), cognitive coaching (Costa & Garmston, 2002), collegial coaching (Poglinco et al, 2003), and technical coaching (Poglinco et al, 2003).
  10. “Instructional coaches partner with teachers to help them incorporate research-based instructional practices into their teaching so that students will learn more effectively” (Knight, 2009, p. 18)
  11. Instructional coaching is an ongoing, job-embedded professional development model that advocates propose to support the implementation of proven teaching methods (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005; Knight, 2007; Showers, 1984; West & Staub, 2003). Contrary to centralized training and workshops that may be described as “one-shot” or “drive-by” professional development (Sleeter, 1997) through the instructional coaching model, coaches develop partnerships with individual teachers and teacher teams to examine teaching and learning in their classrooms with their students on their home campuses and coaches provide guidance to reach common goals (Knight & Cornett, 2008).
  12.  In a year-long study of the impact of instructional coaching on student achievement, Reddell found that standardized test scores on the three campuses (two elementary and one middle school) in the study increased significantly.
  13.  Describing the teacher-coach relationship, Knight further posits that 
    1. strong communication skills (especially listening skills on the part of the coach), 
    2. making emotional connections, and 
    3. taking a partnership approach are key to the development of effective teacher-coach relationships. 
  14. Additional components of the instructional coaching model include: 
    1. focus on professional practice, 
    2. job-embedded professional learning experiences, 
    3. intensive and on-going support, 
    4. dialogical interaction, 
    5. nonevaluative support, confidentiality, and respectful communication (Knight, 2007)
  15. Instructional coaches utilizing the core components of coaching – enroll, identify, explain, model, observe, explore, support and reflect – have the ability to provide professional learning opportunities for teachers in a job-embedded, campusbased model of professional development.
  16.  her belief that: When I walk into a classroom my first thought is, before I open the door, is that this is the most well-intentioned teacher in the world and this teacher is coming into that classroom with years and years and years of her own beliefs and assumptions about how education should be.
  17. Knight (2007) posits that instructional coaches must adopt a partnership approach built on the core principles of equality, choice, voice, dialogue, reflection, praxis, and reciprocity. It is further suggested that three key components of instructional coaching are (1) enroll – strategies for getting teachers on board, (2) identify – methods for finding the most appropriate teaching practices to share during instructional coaching, and (3) explain – tactics for insuring that teachers fully understand the materials shared with them (Knight, 2007).
  18. Coaching model implementation:
    1. First, the roles and responsibilities of the instructional coaches were defined conceptually but lacked specificity and further, the focus of the instructional coaches varied by department across the district. 
    2. Second, when the work of the Curriculum Integration Specialists was amended to an Instructional Coaching model there was little systemic communication throughout the district regarding this change. 
    3. Third, mobility (turn-over) of instructional coaches as well as district leaders adversely affected the implementation of an instructional coaching professional development model. 
    4. Fourth, the district lacked a long-term strategic plan for professional learning opportunities to support the work of the instructional coaches 
  19. District leaders must clearly define what the 140 roles and responsibilities are in practical settings – the day-to-day work – of the coaches
  20. It is less imperative to identify the right framework as it is to thoughtfully, collaboratively, and systemically adopt a framework to provide structures for the instructional coaches to support deeper understandings of culturally responsive teaching
  21. While there is strong evidence (Payne & Allen, 2006; Neufeld & Roper, 2003) that instructional coaching contributes to improved teaching and student learning, it should be noted that instructional coaching must also be accompanied by rigorous curriculum, on-going formative assessment and feedback for students, strategic planning, and strong leadership of local, state and national policy-makers if educators are to eliminate existing academic gaps in opportunities to learn between White students and students of color.

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