Tweetchat No 5: Instructional coaching

by Rossana Espinoza 0

Instructional coaching


When: Friday 27th October from 12 to 1 pm.

Where: #coachingHE and #SDFcoaching in Twitter.


View this Tweetchat conversation


The idea behind instructional coaching is to support educators to effectively implement research-based teaching practices and techniques (Desimone and Pack, 2017).


Instructional coaching may be defined as an ‘on-site’ initiative whereby coaches as ‘change agents’ may use professional development activities and specialised forms of coaching to enhance academic practice by meeting the individual needs of educators. (Oklahoma Instructional Coaching, 2013)


Kurz, Reddy and Glover (2017) offer a framework of instructional coaching in which, coaching may be defined according to the actions of the coach (to support coachees with the following: questioning, assessing, setting goals, planning, demonstrating, critiquing, evaluating, adjusting), the focus of coaching, and chosen coaching outcomes.


Instructional coaches employ professional development methods that inspire activities, leading to sustain recently learned skills. Instructional coaches also employ ‘guided reflective practices’ and a ‘partnership approach’ to nurture effective professional learning (Oklahoma Instructional Coaching, 2013).


One of the strong points of instructional coaching is that its foundations are based on what makes teaching learning effective (Desimone and Pack, 2017).


Desimone (2009) gives evidence that to enhance academic practice in teaching and student learning, the professional development of educators needs the following features to be in place:


  • Focus on the ‘what’ and ‘how’: What content needs to be learned? And how students do learn that content?
  • Ensure that educators learn actively: What is the provision for educators to learn with/from others on the job (i.e. observation, receiving feedback, and making presentations)?
  • Increase coherence, when possible, between what takes place in the learning environment and the wider context. This enables teaching/supporting learning in practice, via distance/electronically: What is the content, learning outcomes, activities? Are they consistent with the curriculum and institution’s strategic aims? What are teachers’ knowledge and beliefs? What are the needs of the students and institution, the region and legislation and policies?
  • Continuous support: What activities are ongoing during the academic year? How substantial contact time is available to receive support?
  • Growth of the teaching community: What is the support for ‘collective participation’? How are groups of teachers from the same year, subject, or the whole institution supported to participate in activities to establish an active learning community?


Instructional coaching may be a powerful instrument for teacher learning as it reflects these features of effective professional development (Desimone and Pack, 2017).


Instructional coaching seems have gained the interest of institutions from the secondary education sector in the US and Australia. The first time I heard the concept was through #educoach a coaching Tweetchat organised and run every month in Australia by a group of educators.


The appeal is its employment to support educators in the HE sector in the UK. Many lessons could be learned and applied in the design and offer of professional development support within institutions in the HE sector in the UK.


Our next #coachingHE #SDFcoaching Tweetchat seeks to explore how instructional coaching may help educators and other professionals enhance their practice. To achieve, we will discuss the following:


  1. What helps the task of coaching educators and other professionals?
  2. What complicates the task of coaching educators and other professionals?
  3. How could we support the professional development of educators in a way that encourages different forms of learning (i.e. learning by doing, learning with/from others)?
  4. What activities may help give educators and other professionals a voice and a choice in their own professional development?



List of references:

Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving impact studies ofteachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38, 181–199.

Desimone, L. M. and Pak, K. (2017). Instructional Coaching as High-Quality Professional Development. Theory into practice. 56: 3-12

Kurz, A., Reddy, L. A. and Glover, T. A.  (2017). A Multidisciplinary Framework of Instructional Coaching, Theory Into Practice, 56:1, 66-77

Pennsylvania Institute for instructional coaching (2017)

Oklahoma Instructional Coaching (2017)


Further reading:

Knight, J. Unmistakable Impact (2011): A Partnership Approach for Dramatically Improving Instruction. Corwin Press: California, The United States of America.

Knight, J. (2008). Coaching Approaches and Perspectives. Corwin Press: California, The United States of America.

Knight, J. Instructional Coaching (2007). A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction. Corwin Press: California, The United States of America.