Date of this Version
Published in Early Education and Development 29:6 (2018), pp 852–872.
Research Findings: This study investigated coaches’ interactions with educators in the context of a large-scale, state-implemented literacy professional development (PD). We examined log data and open-comment reports to understand what coaches found salient about their interactions with educators as well as how those reports aligned with the initial design of the PD. Coaches reported spending a large proportion of their interactions with educators completing administrative tasks. Our findings also indicate that coaches disproportionally targeted instructional content from the PD while also adding unrelated instructional content to their coaching. Although coaches reported focusing on relationship building, they reported using less efficacious coaching strategies (e.g., observation and discussion) more frequently than coaching strategies demonstrated to be more efficacious (e.g., modeling and co-teaching).
Practice or Policy: Our findings suggest an explanation for the mixed evidence around coaching, as coaches in the study seemed to move beyond the specifications of the PD in their coaching interactions. This work has implications for the design of PD for both improving coach training and allowing some flexibility to meet educators’ learning needs that may be secondary to the content of the PD. Findings also support the need for more nuanced mechanisms for investing in coaching and coaching outcomes.