- The Santa Cruz, California-based New Teacher Center has released standards for instructional coaching programs and practices that are intended to improve teacher effectiveness, support teacher leadership, and create more equitable learning experiences for students.
- The standards describe components that can support coaching programs, such as instructional leadership teams, a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of coaches and professional development for the coaches.
- The practice standards note that coaches work closely with school leaders in order to foster ongoing, two-way communication, to make sure next steps are clearly spelled out, and to see that sure coaches understand school leaders’ overall goals for the school.
Instructional coaching and mentoring has emerged as a leading way to help teachers improve, to implement new curriculum, and to retain teachers — needs that many schools have as the supply of new teachers entering the field becomes scarce in some areas.
An analysis of research on coaching, conducted by FHI360, showed that more than three-quarters of teachers who received intensive, one-on-one coaching, reported that their instruction improved. In addition, about 70% of them reported engaging in more discussions with other teachers about student work after participating in coaching.
In addition, coaching has been found to improve learning, helping students have a better understanding concepts, improve their writing and make connections to other topics they’ve studied.
But coaching is also a costly and time-intensive way to improve teaching, especially if the coaches work in that role full time. The FHI360 report, which focuses largely on the work of the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching, noted that coaches can also be effective in small- and large-group settings. “We learned that there is particular power in mixing one-on-one and group coaching activities, and that teachers who participated in both were the greatest beneficiaries of a coaching relationship,” the report says.
School leaders can also work with coaches to determine who might benefit the most from individualized coaching.