Instructional Coaching and Learning of Instructional Practices: A Study of the Perceptions of Coaches and Teachers

Project Number
OER 02/13 TPI

Project Duration
April 2014 - March 2017

Status
Completed

Abstract
The purposes of this study are two-fold: (1) to examine coaches' and teachers' perceptions of Knight's principles of instructional coaching in supporting teacher learning of instructional practices (2) to examine coaches' and teachers' perceptions of instructional coaching on student learning of mathematics. This study uses a qualitative research design. It proposes to look at 3 schools and a total of 15 teachers and coaches teaching the secondary one level. We plan to interview the teachers, including the instructional coach twice a term: once at the beginning, and once at the end of it. We plan for this study to take place over a course of 1.5 years. We also plan to conduct observations of two coaching cycles for every term except for the 4th term where we plan to conduct only one coaching cycle (this is because the 4th term is a short term). One coaching cycle comprises a session whereby the instructional coach and the teachers review the lesson plans of the week, the instructional coach modelling the practice, a session whereby the instructional coach and the teachers discuss and reflect on the lesson taught by the instructional coach, a lesson taught by one of the teachers and he/she is the one that prepares the lesson plans for the week, and a session whereby the instructional coach and the teachers discuss and reflect on the lesson taught by the teacher. Presently, most of the extant literature on instructional coaching borrows either Taylor's or Knight's definitions of instructional coaching. Although both had contributed substantially to the field of instructional coaching, particularly Knight, their understanding of instructional coaching may not be all-embracing as it is rooted in a Western context; it may not be culturally viable in an Asian context. Knight's (2008) framework of instructional coaching, for example, defined instructional coaching as a partnership between coaches and teachers where they are committed to equality in the relationship among the other principles. However, there is inexorably a power differential in the instructional coaching relationship between coaches and teachers, as coaches are the ''more knowledgeable other'' (Teemant, Wink, & Tyra, 2011, p. 686). This power differential is more likely to be played out in the Asian context where ''social relationships are characterised by formality and adherence to strict and explicit codes of behaviour'' (Goh, 2009, p. 336), and where well-being of group prevails over that of individual. This study, in seeking to examine the relevancy of Knight's principles of instructional coaching in a context other than the one that he validated, has the potential to contribute to the overall scholarship of instructional coaching. As there is hardly any research that looks at coaching in the context of teaching in Singapore, this study signifies a first step towards initiating a dialogue in this aspect. For the teaching profession in Singapore, it is a significant first step. The other significance of this study is that it fills a theoretical gap in the coaching literature. Although there are studies that examine teachers' and coaches' perceptions of instructional coaching, there are, however, hardly any studies that examine coaches' and teachers' perceptions of instructional coaching, particularly with respect to Knights' model and its impact on learning which is important because instructional coaching is built on a relationship between coaches and teachers.

Funding Source
NIE

Related Links
NIE Research Briefs No. 16-003: Instructional Coaching and Learning of Instructional Practices: A Study of the Perceptions of Coaches and Teachers

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