What Is Our Model?
TPIIC’s educator-centered instructional coaching model blends four elements: coaching teachers one-on-one and in small groups; engaging in the Before-During-After (BDA) cycle of consultation; focusing on key areas of practice; and coaching the coach. This professional learning model is critical for school transformation and demonstrates the power of collaboration, building teacher capacity, and helping teachers advocate for and take "ownership" of their learning.
TPIIC’s vision of instructional coaching is designed to improve individual and collective performance as it validates practice, builds collaborative cultures, increases student engagement, and influences teaching and learning. It is a deliberate process, helping teachers analyze “in, on, and about” action; identifying needs; and planning next steps in order to accomplish classroom goals.
Helping coaches achieve their goals are instructional mentors who support the instructional coaches and offer a layer of support modeling the same process coaches offer to their teaching colleagues. They are collaborative learning partners and skilled practitioners who help coaches build teacher capacity while building their own coaching capacity.
TPIIC is designed around the “before, during, and after” cycle of consultation or process, a deliberate and intentional structure necessary in talking about practice.
In our practice, the before, during, and after (BDA) cycle of consultation helps build the relationships necessary for an effective coaching interaction and relies heavily on listening skills. Both the coach and teacher discuss and plan a collaborative approach, action steps, and ways to assess how effectively the intended outcomes of the interaction were accomplished. It is a non-evaluative process that focuses on open-ended questions inviting teacher responses and the coach’s practiced silence. (Instructional Coaching in Action: An Integrated Approach That Transforms Thinking, Practice and Schools describes the 3-pronged BDA cycle in detail.)
Why Our Model?
Creating independent readers who read, write, speak, think, and learn on their own can only happen when we help teachers understand what independent learning means and address their needs to enable learning. Research shows that teachers' performance plateaus at four years (Jane Hannaway, Urban Institute). "Teachers work in isolation. They learn what they learn and then they plateau. They get no valid input."
Instructional coaching changes that paradigm and focuses on teachers working together in confidential, non-evaluative ways. Embedded in adult learning, four interdependent areas of practice are reinforced: applying evidence-based literacy practices across all content areas; collecting, analyzing, and using data to assess student needs; promoting non-evaluative, confidential collaboration and reflection; and supporting instructional coaches through mentoring work together to change the landscape of teaching and learning. Coaching is a deliberate and intentional practice that promotes critical thinking and a change in culture and climate of the school.
Instructional coaching helps teachers and other school leaders recognize that consistency in language and practice makes a difference in student outcomes. There is a 2.6 times greater variation in student achievement across classrooms in the same school than school to school (OECD, 2008). Coaches help eliminate that disparity by providing ample opportunities for teachers to think, plan, and work together in ways that shape their instructional practice. They ensure that instruction is rigorous, delivery effective, and the assessments appropriate for student learning to improve.
Many content area teachers are not familiar with evidence-based literacy practices or with the signals and signposts necessary for students to navigate nonfiction text. Instructional coaches are skilled practitioners who can help teachers understand the literacy needs of their students and work with them to refine practice and emphasize the importance of evidence-based literacy practices. Instructional coaching is critical to helping teachers across all content areas integrate content, effective instructional practices, and adult learning theory. They help teachers apply literacy principles and practices to their own content with job-embedded professional development that offers ongoing opportunities for the individuals and teacher teams to impact whole school improvement.