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Instructional Coaching

Effective Instructional Coaching

According to Knight (2009), effective instructional coaching exhibits seven characteristics. Five of the seven are based on the view of instructional coaching as a partnership:

  1. Power is shared equally between coach and teacher.
  2. Choice of instructional content belongs to the teacher.
  3. Coaching sessions reflect the teacher’s voice.
  4. Authentic dialogue is on-going.
  5. Learning is reciprocal: both teacher and coach learn.

The other two characteristics deal with coaching methods and focus on strategies for skill development:

  • The practice of coached skills takes place in the teacher’s classroom.
  • Reflection on the practice events is on-going, shared between coach and teacher.

These seven characteristics resemble the consensus of research (see e.g., Howley, Dudek, Rittenberg, & Larson, 2014; Killion, Harrison, Bryan, & Clifton, 2012; Robertson et al., 2020): effective instructional coaching fosters trust, uses effective communication, and stays current with teaching practice (that is, “supports the right work”). In successful instructional coaching relationships, coach and teacher learn how to work together—and they learn what works well for that teacher’s students.