Derrington, M. L. (ed.). (2008). Washington State Kappan, Instructional & Leadership Coaching: Embedded Professional Development. 2(1).

Author: Washington State Kappan, Mary Lynne Derrington (ed.)



Washington State Kappan a journal for research, leadership and practice, Spring 2008 issue, titled Instructional and Leadership Coaching: Embedded Professional Development focuses on job-embedded coaching research, issues and models from Washington state.

The article "Coaching for Instructional Improvement: Themes in Research and Practice" reviews current research on coaching models and demonstrates the importance of job-embedded coaching as a way to bridge the gap between "sit and get" professional development and classroom implementation. It also suggests areas in which further research is needed to further understand the effectiveness of the job-embedded coaching.

Anthony Smith, author of "Rethinking Instructional Coaching in Terms of Teacher Change" observed that many literacy coaches spent only about half their time working with teachers to improve teacher practices and increase student achievement. He suggests a three pronged conceptual model grounded in the collaborative environment necessary for teacher change and the role of the coach as an advocate and facilitators of that change.

"Bringing Science to the Art of Coaching in Education" explores current research about coaching to answer three questions: 1) "What are the research-based benefits of coaching?" 2) "What are the essential coaching strategies and skills needed to maximize coaching effectiveness?" and 3) "How can the coaching process be more consistent?" The article acknowledges the limited research available on coaching, yet provides strong evidence as to its effectiveness because of its ability to increase implementation of new skills teachers learn during professional development. It also suggests that the power of literacy coaching comes when teachers being coached set their own goals and the coach becomes a facilitator of learning and not a director of it. Because coaching models are so diversified, the article also makes recommendations for consistency that can increase effectiveness of coaching programs.

One article in this issue discusses the role that coaching programs can have on developing leadership capacity within buildings and districts and another describes a coaching program for new principals that develops their leadership skills through the use of experienced former administrators. "The 'Studio Residency': A Job-embedded Coaching Model" describes how two districts in Washington implement a "Studio Residency" model. In one district, two school work together in the model. One day a month is set aside for professional development. One school provides a "studio" or "demonstration" classroom while the other school's teachers serve as "residents." Each month, the schools switch roles. The district chooses an instructional issue as the focus for the day and a professional consultant facilitates the process. The structure consists of a pre-observation discussion, an observation of the "studio" classroom and then a debriefing conversation of the lesson's implementation. Participants are often required to do outside reading to prepare to discuss the topic. The teacher in the "studio" classroom is not expected to teach the perfect lesson, the participants are all there to observe the lesson, collect data and then debrief their observations.

Overall, the Washington State Kappan, Spring 2008 issue, supports coaching as an effective method for transferring knowledge gained from professional development opportunities to work place implementation. It also suggests that the power of coaching is inherent in the goals set by the individual being coached, the collaborative environment created by the coaching structure, and the consistency of implementation and follow-through by the coach. This issue provides a way for educational leaders to review current research on coaching, contemplate models that will work within their systems and consider frameworks for implementation.

Date Added: 10/20/2008

Attachment: WaStateKappan_Spring2008.pdf


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