Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

What’s in your picture of instructional coaching?

What picture have principals and instructional coaches painted for teachers this school year? Does the picture largely consist of instructional coach as a resource finder and relationship builder or as coach with teacher analyzing student learning and planning standards-based lessons ensuring that all students have access to grade-level content?

Conversations between coaches and teachers  provide support, create challenge, and facilitate meeting the needs of all students.  If coaches only provide support, then it may provide comfort for teachers, but encourage complacency. If coaches only provide challenge without support, then it may increase anxiety and not empower growth. If coaches only provide support and challenge without a vision for instruction and meeting the needs of all students, then learning experiences for students may not prepare them for being college, career, and citizen ready.

Coaching conversations center around...

  1. articulating standards andwhat they look like in instruction and assessment
  2. advancing student learning through moving teacher practice forward by balancing immediate needs and long-term shifts in practice
  3. approaching teaching as ongoing inquiry into teaching and learning experiences

The coach/teacher relationship leads to...

...reflective teachers who are open to feedback, seek opportunities to grow professionally, and take responsibility for student learning

… persistent teachers who hold high expectations for all students and preserve in solving complex issues of practice, care deeply, and are committed to students

… curious teachers who ask questions, inquire, and experiment in an effort to reach every student and who are willing to take risks and try out new ideas or strategies if they think it will help students

It is up to instructional coaches to build trusting relationships with teachers to open the door for significant conversations with teachers about meeting the needs of  students. It is up to the principal to communicate clear expectations about the significant role coaches play in advancing teaching learning.

What does the picture of instructional coaching look like and what impact is it having on teaching and learning? Check out John Hattie’s video, Know Thy Impact

8 mind frames that instructional coaches can challenge and support teachers with developing.

My fundamental task is to evaluate the effect of my teaching.

I teach through dialogue, not monologue.

Success and failure of my students’ learning is about what I do and/or what I don’t do.

I enjoy challenge and never retreat into doing my best.

I talk more about learning than teaching.

It is my role to develop positive relationships in the classroom and in the staffroom.

I seek out feedback.  Assessment is about my impact on student learning.

I inform everyone about the language of learning.  I am passionate and promote growth.

For a conversation about the picture of instructional coaching, please contact Jaymie Randel,

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