A Framework for Examining Teacher Coaching

Wiseman, Emily, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Wiseman, Emily, CU-Curr Instr & Sp Ed CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies Education Graduate, University of Virginia

Improving teaching practice remains a challenging endeavor, particularly as classroom contexts, student needs, and teacher needs can vary dramatically. Coaching that individualizes support within a teacher’s classroom mitigates many of the obstacles to high-quality professional development. However, researchers and practitioners alike demonstrate difficulty in articulating a definition of teacher coaching that captures the wide range of activities that constitute coaching across contexts. A lack of clarity regarding effective dimensions of coaching leaves practitioners and policymakers with little guidance for designing, implementing, and supporting coaching programs. To improve our understanding of effective coaching practices and to provide clearer guidance to practitioners, I develop a framework to guide coaching research in a practitioner-oriented manner. The framework directs researchers to explicitly name and test dimensions of the logic model underlying coaching as an intervention and posits that the design and implementation of coaching entails features of purpose, place, person, pedagogy, and persistence. Variation along each of these dimensions suggests possible mechanisms for coaching efficacy. In this dissertation, I examine both the use of coaching at scale (Chapter 1) and test variants of coaching in small-scale trials (Chapters 2 and 3). In approaching this research, I apply the coaching dimension framework to identify clear takeaways for future coaching research and practice. This framework also allows me to carefully juxtapose findings from similar studies, like those in the second and third chapter of this dissertation, to understand what may drive differential coaching effects across study sites.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Teacher Coaching, Professional Learning, Teacher Preparation, Mixed-Reality Simulation, Experimental Design
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