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What is Instructional Coaching? Benefits and Strategies

Teachers frequently guide their pupils on a path from being challenged by a skill to mastering it. Success gives kids more self-assurance and self-worth. The delight of witnessing the results of effective instruction is felt by the instructor in turn.

As more children achieve success thanks to the dedicated teachers, the cycle continues. But where does the teacher’s inspiration originate from? How can we guarantee that educators continue to stay abreast of the most recent approaches, procedures, and curricula? As a solution, many schools are turning to instructional coaches.

As a mentor, an instructional coach helps teachers become more efficient so they can raise the academic standards of their students. They use their knowledge of textbooks and classroom experience to impart advice to the following generation of educators.

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What is Instructional Coaching?

A skilled educator works with a classroom teacher in the collaborative, non-evaluative process of instructional coaching to offer the teacher-to-teacher support and direction. This collaboration intends to improve teaching methods, raise student achievement levels, and eventually promote a continuous learning environment in classrooms.

The action steps in the instructional coaching program are designed to meet the specific requirements and objectives of each instructor. These actions center on enhancing instructional techniques, putting new ideas into practice, and utilizing evidence-based procedures to boost academic achievement.

what is instructional coaching

Skills Required of Instructional Coaches

To foster an environment where good change may occur, instructional coaches need to gain a teacher’s trust. They require a strong collection of abilities, including:

  • Leadership
  • Goal setting
  • Time management
  • Interpersonal and communication
  • Analytical and technological
  • Decision-making

Together with teachers and administrators, instructional coaches create lesson plans, chances for co-teaching, and teaching methodologies. They might also serve as models for tactics and classes, allowing teachers to understand how the new ideas can be put into practice. They will evaluate the impact of their lesson and the teachers’ answers to their suggestions, and when necessary, they will come up with innovative changes.

Coaching success requires a dedication to lifelong learning. The understanding of best practices, current research, technology developments, and curriculum design will be advantageous to both the mentor and the mentee. Additionally, the median annual wage for instructional coaches has been estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be $63,740. The field is expected to rise by 7% until the year 2031.

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What Does an Instructional Coach Do?

An instructional coach’s major objective is to raise the caliber of teachers’ practices and lessons in a way that results in increased student achievement. Instructional coaches use a range of techniques to help teachers become more effective, such as:

  • observing and assessing teaching strategies and resources
  • creating and executing a curriculum and teaching methods
  • modeling instructional methods
  • inspiring and motivating educators
  • providing criticism
  • tracking student performance
  • provide training and development opportunities for teachers

As they customize their coaching strategies to particular teachers and circumstances, instructional coaches develop their ability to think quickly and creatively. To identify issues and develop answers, they will work together with students, teachers, and administrators.

By routinely taking part in professional development events and learning opportunities, they will also stay up to date with the most up-to-date and effective teaching techniques. In order to increase teacher productivity and student achievement, schools are increasingly turning to instructional coaches.

According to research, instructional coaching affects instructors’ practices by fostering relationships, encouraging self-awareness and defining goals, tracking data and progress, and providing tailored professional development and learning opportunities. Thus, there is a rising need for instructional coaches, particularly as we emerge from the epidemic and schools concentrate on bridging the academic gaps brought on by years of student learning loss.

Teachers require professional development that meets the pandemic’s accountability requirements while also enabling them to take an active role in their own learning and development. It has been demonstrated that the differentiation of instructional coaching with veteran instructors increases the value of the coaching process for this subgroup. The intentional use of instructional coaching with novice teachers has been found to boost self-efficacy.

What are the Benefits of Instructional Coaching for Teachers?

According to research, instructional coaching may have advantages for the coachee, their pupils, and the coach as well. These consist of:

  • enhanced classroom performance and a more clearly defined curriculum.
  • accelerated professional development for the coach and the coachee.
  • a better ability for teachers to evaluate their own lessons and change how they approach their work.
  • greater access to a variety of teaching techniques and methods for teachers.
  • a deeper understanding of teaching and learning best practices.
  • stronger relationships and professional links with coworkers: Teachers are more likely to overcome feelings of isolation, work together more, and support one another.
  • an enhanced school climate and a happier learning environment.
  • improved student performance and narrowed achievement gaps.

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Strategies for Instructional Coaching

Understanding how a teacher is currently functioning can assist the instructional coach determine their goals and the best course of action to help them progressively achieve them.

1. Video-based Coaching

Video-based coaching is one teaching method that an instructional coach may employ. This is videotaping a teacher while they lecture in order to give the coach tangible, factual proof of what transpired and how it affected the class. A coach may use a variety of strategies within this system, such as:

  • Voiceover. The coach might instruct the instructor to mute the video and explain their actions (and justifications) as they happen. The coach can then better grasp how to assist the teacher by knowing what their overall strategy was thanks to this.
  • Pivotal Pausing. Using this technique, the instructor pauses the video at a point they believe to be crucial to the lesson’s objectives. By focusing on particular teaching moments, a teacher can make little changes without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Total Recall. They might ask the teacher to watch a portion of the video, which they would then instantly narrate. Once more, this gives the coach insight into the teacher’s thought process and gives the teacher a chance to recognize where they may improve.
  • Thought-provoking Questions: Simply posing questions like “what made you decide to…?” and “how did that match up with your expectations?” can generate a thoughtful answer from the teacher.

For instance, an instructional coach may be assisting a teacher whose pupils are disengaged and don’t see the relevance of their teachings. The coach may learn from watching the instructor that they are not adequately outlining the objectives of the lesson or how these fit into the bigger picture. To assist the teacher realize what is wrong and write a lesson introduction that they can practice and use in the future, the coach could show them film footage of the beginning of their lessons.

2. Counting Strategy

A straightforward counting strategy is an additional effective instructional coaching technique. This works for both videotaped classes and ones that the coach has transcribed. In this method, the coach requests that instructors tally the instances in which they observe evidence of a certain activity in order to gauge how frequently they do so. instructors may also be asked to tally the number of engaged students, the number of times that students react, the amount of teacher talk time, and other metrics. As a result, despite everything else going on in the lesson, the coaching session can concentrate on a single topic.

In this context, an example of an instructional coach situation would be if a teacher was having trouble implementing organized classroom entry protocols; as a result, significant lesson time was being lost as they took a long time to enter the classroom.

In this situation, the coach may notice the issue, ask the instructor to tally the number of kids who aren’t prepared to learn when they should be, or the length of time the entry routine is taking, and then divide the entry routine into manageable parts to work on. The youngsters may be instructed to line up outside the classroom, seated properly, given books, and other procedures during these phases. The teacher’s directions to the class may also be scripted by the coach.

3. Sharing Their Experience

Given their competence in education, instructional coaches will inevitably have one more tool in their toolbox: their own knowledge and experience. They might be able to discuss their own experiences, what has worked for them, and any research-based teaching techniques they have come across.

For instance, a teacher might find it difficult to accommodate the demands of the class’s autistic students. The coach may be able to provide guidance based on their own teaching experience or point them in the direction of research-based teaching materials, like our article on “Ways of Supporting Children with Autism in the Classroom

Teachers should be able to believe that they will be properly directed until they reach their goals, and instructional coaches should strive to be non-judgmental, disciplined, and confidential throughout the course of their work.

what is instructional coaching

Conditions to Enter the Instructional Coaching Field

Getting your master’s degree is the best first step you can make on the road to becoming an instructional coach. For employment as an instructional coach, you typically need a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction, or leadership.

Your job will benefit from the in-depth knowledge of curriculum, best practices, teaching methods, and coaching methodologies you will get from a master’s degree in leadership.

The following are typical prerequisites for admission to a master’s program in leadership:

  • Education or a closely similar field bachelor’s degree
  • Experience teaching in a PK–12 environment for a number of years
  • Understanding of classroom, curriculum, and assessment procedures

A teaching or education administration license may be needed by some jurisdictions and educational institutions for an instructional coach. Reviewing your state’s standards is crucial as you start your path to become an instructional coach.

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what is instructional coaching

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “instructional coaching” mean?

In order to do this, coaches work closely with teachers to clarify the current situation, set goals, select instructional strategies to achieve the goals, track progress, and handle problems until the goals are achieved. Simply said, instructional coaching helps teachers better fulfill the requirements of their pupils.

What advantages does instructional coaching offer?

Individualized help is given to instructors by instructional coaches. The assistance provided can be changed to meet the unique needs and objectives of the teacher. With this strategy, coaches can concentrate on the precise areas where the instructor needs to develop. As a result, teachers get feedback tailored to their specific requirements.

What are the three coaching learning domains?

Cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning are the three learning domains.



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