Instructional Coaching with Tech

Improving Student Learning

What's an Instructional Coach?

Instructional coaches are on-site professional developers who teach educators how to use proven instructional methods. To be successful in this role, coaches must be skilled in a variety of roles, including public relations guru, communicator extraordinaire, master organizer and, of course, expert educator (Knight).
Jim Knight - Instructional Coaching Promo

A Culture Of Collaboration and Lifelong Learning

Instructional coaches play an integral role in creating a climate conducive to teacher learning. Such schools
  • have a relentless focus on student learning
  • are never complacent and willing to take risks
  • create a culture of trust, collaboration and reflection
  • are continuously focused on learning and feedback

How can such a culture be created?

  • Clear and high expectations
  • Support from administrative team
  • Dedication to building trust and relationships
  • Open communication from top to bottom and bottom to top
  • Teacher-driven, research-proven, student-focused environment
  • Teachers see value in coaching model. This can be provided by individualization and differentiation of professional development.
  • Constant analysis of student and teacher learning. Is what we're doing working

Elements of an Effective Coaching Climate

According to Spokane (WA) Instructional Coaching Model, an effective coaching climate will "close the student achievement gap and accelerate learning for all students by building teacher capacity through implementation of effective instructional practices."

  • implementation of research-based instruction
  • examination of instruction and student work
  • encourage teacher reflection and improvement
  • collaborative relationships built on trust


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TPaCK refers to the interdependence of Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge bases. Instructional coaches must incorporate both Web 2.0 and traditional tools and strategies in appropriate ways based on the needs of the school, teachers and students. All three aspects of the TPaCK model relate and when used correctly and in unison can improve instruction and learning. Instructional coaches must recognize the unique needs of both teachers and students to help incorporate all three elements into daily instruction.


Role in PLCs

At the heart of PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) is the belief that all students can learn and educators better able to serve the needs of students through collaboration aimed at continuously improving schools. In schools that are committed to such progress, the instructional coach should play an integral role.

Believing as Peter DeWitt suggests, "the collective wisdom of the group is better than the thoughts of one," instructional coaches play a tremendous role in creating and building a PLC culture. Through observation and conversation, an instructional coach should be able to identify "communities" that will support student learning. With their fingers on the pulse of school, coaches can take the lead in establishing and growing a school's PLC.

A strong coach can easily translate such integrity and trust into school-wide PLCs. Just look at the similarities between an effective coach and effective PLCs:
  • Everyone has equal ownership
  • Collective responsibility
  • Mutual interdependence
  • Focus on student work
  • Goal of continual improvement
  • Building relationships based on mutual goals and trust

Coaches should serve as facilitators the PLC process. The school's values and norms serve as the foundation for continuous growth and a commitment to the learning of each student resulting in a strengthening of a school's mission and vision.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

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Tech savvy educators are adapt and skilled at incorporating various technological resources--a sometimes difficult task given various constraints. The plethora of Web 2.0 technologies can increase teacher and student creativity and flexibility. Technology cannot only make learning tasks easier, but it can also make learning more authentic and engaging.

Effective Instructional Coaches

The below mindmap is viewable and editable. Please click on the below to view and/or add characteristics of an effective instructional coach.

Learning is our fundamental purpose, our compelling why. We must never lose that focus.