- Coaching benefits educators who receive the personalized training, but the key to its success is a culture built around that approach to professional development, secondary school leader Brandon Johnson and Learning Loop Founder Allison Rodman write for Edutopia.
- Administrators can foster that culture by creating a sense of purpose and a set of norms, rituals and traditions at the school that include things like awards, certifications and celebrations.
- Once established, coaching culture fuels growth mindsets and willingness to take risks.
Even principals appreciate coaching, research indicates, with a recent study suggesting 70% of principals believe coaching is at least somewhat valuable, but only 66% have actually participated in a coaching program. Instructional coach Jim Knight believes the approach is valuable because the format of working one-on-one in a safe environment allows for better information retention than traditional “sit-and-get” PD.
Whether coaches are based at schools or at the district seems to make a difference. Research shows school-based coaches tend to spend more time working as substitute teachers and teaching intervention programs than they did actually coaching other teachers. Some were even tasked with monitoring recess and lunch. School-based coaches were also able to build stronger relationships with teachers.
Coaches who are accountable to the district, on the other hand, spent more time coaching but didn’t develop the same strong relationships as their school-based counterparts.
A joint union-district coaching program in New York City called Teacher Career Pathways (TCP) involves more than 1,300 educators in 600 schools and has been heralded as a model for other districts to follow. While the impact on student achievement is unknown, the program improved teacher retention, according to 81% of the principals surveyed.
Survey data collected in 2014-2015 shows 98% of participants remained in their schools, and 70% of principals who responded to the survey said the program helped them attract new teachers.