With the COVID-19 global pandemic still in motion, it’s critical to understand the sheer amount of difficulties that teachers are currently facing in their field. Needless to say, the rates of teachers burning out are increasing at an alarming rate.
It’s definitely the time to explore new options for supporting and helping teachers find their footing in the ever-shifting landscape of education at the moment. A great tool to use would be taking advantage of the multitude of benefits that instructional coaching can bring to the table.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of instructional coaching, no worries. You’ve come to the right place. Read on for our little breakdown of what instructional coaching entails, the different flavors the model can come in, and what makes one effective.
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Instructional Coaching 101: What Is an Instructional Coaching Model?
Depending on the school and its teachers’ needs, instructional coaching can lie anywhere between a laissez-faire approach or a highly-structured program.
The laissez-faire approach is a more hands-off model that can include regular check-ins with new and current teachers, Q&A sessions to figure out solutions for the teachers’ problems, as well as seminars that can help calm their nerves.
On the other hand, you can explore a rigid program that’s highly-structured in the form of lessons given by experienced teachers and educational coaches. Of course, you’ll need experienced coaches on hand for schools to bring any instructional approach to fruition.
The Interpersonal Approach
In addition to the two types of approaches we’ve previously discussed, you’ll find that the interpersonal approach is another great option.
This approach comes with a focus on observation and the creation of a feedback cycle, where the coaches will explain research-based practices to the teachers, then help them integrate these practices directly into their classrooms.
One of the key benefits to this approach is the opportunities of applying theories by individual teachers to their classrooms, see what works and tweak the methods that aren’t as effective, all under the sharp eye of their coaches and instructors. At this point, the teachers will feel comfortable raising questions or discussing their concerns, then benefit from the quick response and solutions.
What Makes Instructional Coaching Effective?
Different models will suit different school and teacher cultures. However, if you’re looking for the common element that makes instructional coaching effective, that would be the emphasis on individualized, time-sensitive training, that’s sustained over the course of at least an academic semester, preferably a full year.
Furthermore, the training needs to be context-specific, tailored for the school and the students, with a focus on discrete skills. Instructional coaching needs to be consistent, unlike the one-and-done nature of traditional professional development programs.
Supporting Teachers and Students at Times of Educational Turmoil
Simply assuming that struggling teachers will “figure it out” or somehow muddle through the semester is a recipe for disaster.
As we’re facing unprecedented times, it’s appropriate to move away from more orthodox programs like professional development ones to more agile instructional coaching models.
We hope that our little guide into what instructional coaching can bring to your school helps you start your research into the different models with a solid base of information.