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Knight, J. (2007). Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Author: Knight, Jim.

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Description:

This book is intended for instructional coaches, administrators considering implementing an instructional coaching program, professional developers looking for more effective approaches, and coaches looking to improve existing programs. While this book discusses instructional coaching in general, because it focuses on how to effectively and collaboratively coach teaching professionals toward improved instruction, it could also prove a helpful and insightful resource to literacy coaches.

Accessibly written and organized to be teacher-, coach-, administrator-, and busy-educator-friendly, this book is a useful reference tool: Each chapter includes a graphic organizer identifying key concepts and their relationships, overviews, helpful subheadings, a "Going Deeper" section suggesting further readings, and a bulleted summary.

This book is entirely built upon the author's theoretical beliefs about instructional coaching, called the Partnership Philosophy. Based on the premise that working effectively and collaboratively with teachers (or anyone) requires a partnership of mutual value and respect, Knight's Partnership Philosophy proposes seven guiding principles for instructional coaches: equality, choice, voice, dialogue, reflection, praxis, and reciprocity. Knight defines and discusses his seven principles in Chapter 3: equality is "believing the people we collaborate with are no less important than us or anyone else, and that consequently their ideas, thoughts, and opinions are no less important than our own"; choice means that "choices lie at the heart of professional practice, . . . when we offer others choices, we actually increase the likelihood that they will embrace what we have to offer"; voice refers to the idea that "a part of learning is helping people find the words they need to say what matters to them. . . . making it possible for others to openly communicate what they think"; dialogue means "believing in the importance of conversations that enable people to think together" (p. 53) reflection suggests that "learning can be enhanced when we have numerous opportunities to consider how what we're learning might impact what we have done in the past, what we are doing now, and what we will be doing in the future"; praxis reminds us that "learning is most meaningful when we reflect and recreate knowledge so that we can use it in our personal or professional lives"; and reciprocity is the idea that "every learning experience we create provides as much of a chance for us to learn as it does for our learning partners" (p. 54).

In addition to articulating its guiding theory, this book provides ample advice and tools for instructional coaches. An entire chapter is devoted to getting teachers on board with coaching and finding a starting point for collaboration. Knight also includes a chapter on effectively modeling, observing and exploring data with teachers. In another chapter, Knight advocates that coaches start reflection, conversation, and collaboration with teachers by referring to the Big Four: behavior, content, instruction, and formative assessment. Additionally, the author offers advice and guidance for coaches as they share their expertise collaboratively with teachers and as they work toward change in their schools. Finally, the book offers an "Instructional Coach's Tool Kit" which is a collection of forms and worksheets for interviewing teachers, planning points of action, keeping meeting logs, conducting observations, surveying teacher interests, assessing classroom time use, and evaluating implemented actions.

The collaborative partnership stance of this book communicates a very pro teacher point of view. This book is about how to be effective in working with teachers, rather than what roles and qualifications coaches should have. While it is generalized to instructional coaching, the author's insights into how to build collaborative relationships in order improve instruction can also serve literacy coaches, and administrators of coaches and professional developers, well.

Date Added: 10/08/2007

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