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Common K-12 Coaching Models

Common K-12 Coaching Models

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will learn about the most common K-12 coaching models, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Welcome. I'm Tricia Fyfe and in today's video lesson I will explore the topic of common K-12 coaching models. As we learn about this topic, we'll use the following question to guide our learning in this video-- what are common coaching models for K-12 settings? In this video lesson we'll be exploring four coaching models that are present in K-12 settings. While these are not the only four models that can be used for instructional coaching, these four are excellent models for you to learn about and so useful in your teaching-coaching relationships.

These four models are mentoring new teachers, peer coaching, cognitive coaching, and subject-specific coaching. Let's dive into the first model, mentoring new teachers. In this type of coaching, a novice teacher and experienced teacher are paired together. How do we teach in this particular setting is the focus of this type of coaching.

How do I plan for field trips in my school? How can I better manage transitional time? These are example questions you can ask. The advantages to this type of model are that it is a flexible model. The coach can respond to the teacher's need immediately. It's non-evaluative in it's support-based. This is helpful for the novice teacher. This model helps build relationships among faculty. Teachers can be open with questions and share their desire to learn as a teacher in non-evaluative coaching.

Disadvantages of this type of coaching include the fact that it can promote the status quo sometimes. If the school has an excellent positive school culture, this is great, but if the culture of the school is negative, novice teachers can be affected by this. Another issue that may occur is veteran teachers encouraging newer teachers to use strategies that they are invested in as veteran teachers, as opposed to using new, innovative, recent instructional methods.

The next model for coaching that we'll discuss is peer coaching. Peer coaching is a collaborative model. Teachers serve as coaches for each other and it can be used to connect formal professional development and classroom instruction. In this model of peer coaching, the advantages are that is non-threatening and non-evaluative. These both promote relationships within the faculty in the building. Teachers can be open with questions and it promotes their desire to learn as a teacher.

The disadvantages are that there are little quality control methods in peer coaching. When two teachers agree to coach one another, it can't always be assumed that one-- or both, even-- have adequate knowledge and skills to address the challenges of the other teacher. The third model that we'll discuss today is called cognitive coaching, and the focus of this model is self-direction through reflection and conversation.

This model contains three parts-- the planning conversation, where instructional goals are clarified by the teacher; the classroom observation, where the coach gathers evidence; and the reflecting conversation, and this is where the coach shares the evidence from the observation and guides the teacher through self-reflection. There are some advantages to using this model. These advantages are that this is a flexible model and any type of goal can be addressed.

It's also a nonjudgmental. The model focuses on teacher reflection. The disadvantages to this model are that a teacher must have the ability to be reflective to have success using the model. If a teacher has difficulty being reflective on instructional practices, this model will most likely not be effective. It does not rely on the coach specifying what to teach or how to teach it. Teachers may need to go outside of the coaching situation to investigate new strategies for instruction.

The last coaching model that we'll discuss today is called subject-specific coaching, and in this model a single subject area is targeted and guided by the standards around that content area. In subject-specific coaching, there are some advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that horizontal and vertical alignment are insured by the use of curriculum mapping. This model also promotes the use of both formal and informal assessments to collect data.

The disadvantages are that there's no commonly accepted established approach for implementing this type of coaching. Content knowledge and implementation are the main focus, rather than the instructional practices. Standardized test scores can be an emphasis. Although this may be a disadvantage, they can also be used to promote reflection so this can be on either side of that spectrum.

Let's talk about what we learned today for a moment. We looked at the following question, what are the common coaching models for K-12 settings? In today's video lesson we walked through just four of the many coaching models available for instructional coaching. These models included mentoring new teachers, peer coaching, cognitive coaching, and subject-specific coaching. Not only did I explain each of these, but I went through some advantages and disadvantages of each model.

Now that you're more familiar with these coaching models, let's reflect. Which of these models do you feel the most comfortable using? Which do you feel you would need the most support with to use effectively? Thanks for joining me today in discussing the lesson common K-12 coaching models. I hope you found value in this video lesson and are able to apply these ideas to your own classroom.

As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on “Common K-12 Coaching Models”


(00:00- 00:17) Introduction/Objectives

(00:18- 00:42) Common K-12 Coaching Models

(00:43- 01:57) Model #1: Mentoring New Teachers

(01:58- 02:44) Model #2: Peer Coaching

(02:45- 03:52) Model #3: Cognitive Coaching

(03:53- 04:43) Model #4: Subject-Specific Coaching

(04:44- 05:12) Recap

(05:13- 05:51) Reflection

Additional Resources

Cognitive Coaching

This site from John Hopkins University offers an overview of cognitive coaching. In addition to the overview, the site includes resources and readings related to the application of cognitive coaching in education.

Lessons from Research on Teacher Mentoring: Review of the Literature

This review details the components of a successful teacher mentoring program and its impact on teaching and learning.