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Introduction to Instructional Coaching

Introduction to Instructional Coaching

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will learn about what instructional coaching is and how it is useful.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And in this video lesson, I'm going to be exploring the topic of introduction to instructional coaching with you today.

As we learn about this topic, we will work toward several learning objectives, and together we'll answer the following questions in this video lesson. What is instructional coaching? And why is it beneficial for us as teachers?

Let's start by diving into this question, what is instructional coaching? Implementing instructional coaching opportunities into a school can have many positive benefits. According to the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, instructional coaching can be a great tool for teachers. It can be an avenue to transform teaching and learning by turning schools into professional learning communities, or PLCs. Instructional coaching can help teachers to be continuously working on developing professionally. The goals are to improve knowledge and skills.

So what does this look like? Sometimes, a school or school district will hire instructional coaches. In this case, these individuals are not classroom teachers but work with the teachers in the classrooms, observing, modeling lessons, and providing feedback. In other cases, colleagues team up to provide coaching for each other. These coaches are classroom teachers themselves, and in addition they fulfill the role of instructional coach for other teachers in their school, maybe members of their grade level, their professional learning community, or one specific colleague. This is called peer coaching.

Now that we have a solid understanding of what instructional coaching is, let's talk about the benefits of coaching. Why should we as teachers engage in instructional coaching? How is it useful?

There are several reasons for implementing instructional coaching in schools. First, instructional coaching helps us reflect on instruction and collaborate as teachers. As teachers, we develop professionally within the context of a classroom, through this collaboration and reflection, rather than externally in workshops and conferences. We can also apply what we've learned immediately, and with support.

Instructional coaching encourages positive change in the school culture. These same collaborative behaviors and practices that are developed through this process can impact changes and improvement processes in schools. Teachers begin to engage openly and fully in improvement processes, such as the use of professional learning communities, or PLCs. These are teachers that have common goals for examining and improving instruction.

Instructional coaching promotes the use of data analysis to inform teaching practice. We can focus on class level data to help determine the effectiveness of instruction. We can also communicate data with our instructional coach, and the coach can help us think of new strategies or techniques to respond to particular instructional needs.

Instructional coaching promotes two way accountability. A coach is accountable to provide feedback on a teacher's instruction that's consistent and ongoing. A teacher is accountable to listen and follow through. To be effective, professional development needs to be ongoing. This is the teacher's job. We need to use the new learning in our teaching, and work collaboratively with others.

Finally, instructional coaching promote supportive, connected environments. Opportunities are provided for coaches, and teachers, and principals to engage in leading change, beginning with pedagogical and content knowledge. When a classroom teacher works with a coach, it can help remind them that they're not alone, they're not isolated.

Let's look at the components of coaching. Jim Knight, a professor at the University of Kansas, indicates there are several main components of coaching. The first is to identify challenges. What challenges are occurring in the classroom? Are there instructional challenges, classroom management challenges, or maybe assessment challenges? These are determined by the teacher and the coach.

The second component is modeling. The coach may use model lessons to model best practices that may address the identified challenge.

The third component is observations, or observing. The coach observes the teacher, and the teacher implements strategies to address the identified challenge.

The fourth component is feedback. The coach provides feedback to the teacher after the observation.

And the final component of instructional coaching is reflection. The coach promotes reflection by the teacher, through asking clarifying questions and discussing what was observed. This is an extremely important process to go through, and each separate component adds so much value to the teacher-coach relationship.

We've discussed some really important ideas today. Let's talk about what we learned in this lesson. We looked at the following questions, what is instructional coaching, and why is it beneficial for us as teachers?

First, I gave you a quick overview of what instructional coaching is. Remember, as an instructional coach, you can be a teacher who also takes the role of coach in their school, or an individual that your school or district hires to work exclusively as a coach, not a teacher. This person's role is to help transform teaching and learning by working on professional development skills and knowledge that will lead to better teaching and learning in the classroom.

We also talked about the many benefits to instructional coaching, how it can prevented the feeling of isolation for teachers, add accountability, and allows for collaboration and reflection that will help improve instructional strategies.

Now that you're more familiar with these concepts on instructional coaching, let's reflect. What do you feel the benefits to instructional coaching would be for you as a teacher? Have you experienced instructional coaching in action in your experiences to this point? What was the impact?

Thanks for joining me today in discussing this lesson, introduction to instructional coaching. I hope you found value in this video lesson, and all of these ideas on instructional coaching, such an important concept to grasp. And I hope you're able to apply these ideas and resources to your own teaching.

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on “Introduction to Instructional Coaching”


(00:00- 00:21) Introduction/Objectives

(00:22- 01:34) What is Instructional Coaching?

(01:35- 03:41) Benefits of Instructional Coaching

(03:42- 04:46) Components of Coaching

(04:47- 05:38) Recap

(05:39- 06:25) Reflection

Additional Resources

Instructional Coaching: Professional Development Strategies That Improve Instruction

This guide provides useful planning and implementation strategies for instructional coaching within your organization. All strategies are research based.

Instructional Coaching

This Teaching Channel video illustrates the value of instructional coaching for both the coach and the teacher.