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How Principals Support the Instructional Coaching Process: A Collective Case Study from Two Midwestern Elementary Schools

Shanna M Gannon, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Each year across the nation, school districts invest a great deal of money and time on professional development initiatives. Traditional forms of professional development have been shown to be ineffective. In fact, little of what is learned during traditional professional development actually is put into practice in the classroom. As a result, districts are moving to more job-embedded forms of professional learning such as instructional coaching. One of the many challenges district and school leaders face is inconsistent implementation of instructional coaching even within a school district. The reality is that some instructional coaches are successful in improving teacher practice in a way that results in increased student achievement, and others are not. One factor that impacts the effectiveness of instructional coaching is the leadership of the school principal. This collective case study is designed to examine how principals in two Midwestern elementary schools support the instructional coaching process. The experiences and perceptions of general education teachers, instructional coaches, and principals were collected from two elementary campuses comprised of grades Kindergarten through fifth grade in a Midwestern school district. Their insights describe the realities of instructional coaching in this district and how the principal creates the conditions for coaching to be effective. This study identifies themes that describe actions principals can take to increase the effectiveness of instructional coaching in their schools as well as a theme that illustrates actions that create challenges and barriers to instructional coaching. In addition, it explains recommendations for future practice for instructional coaches, principals, and district leaders. The principal is the driving force of successful instructional coaching.

Subject Area

Education|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Gannon, Shanna M, "How Principals Support the Instructional Coaching Process: A Collective Case Study from Two Midwestern Elementary Schools" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28150841.