Teacher coaching to improve student outcomes

Teacher in a coaching session

Teacher coaching is a personalized approach in which an expert mentor works one-on-one with teachers to suggest new techniques based on observations in the classroom.

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Researchers from Brown University and Harvard University suggest that personalized teacher training can be more effective compared to traditional instruction.

In most educational institutions, teaching training is carried out in groups through seminars or courses, to name a few. However, it seems that these efforts meet the needs of some teachers, but exclude those of others. Recently, a more personalized and apparently more effective option has gained strength: teacher coaching.

Instructional coaching is a personalized approach in which an expert or mentor works one-on-one with teachers to suggest new techniques based on observations in the classroom. The staff of the educational institutions, including administrators, teachers, curriculum designers or external experts, can perform the role of this coach.

The authors of this research grouped and analyzed the results of 60 causal studies of teacher coaching programs. The results suggest that these personalized programs are effective if these interactions are constant, sustained (throughout a semester or school year) and oriented to the development of specific skills.

The study's author, Matthew A. Kraft, points out in an article for Education Next that coaching teaching has a positive impact on student performance, however, to achieve this, prolonged personalized teacher training will probably be required, and should be oriented to improve specific skills.

This report encourages more research to verify whether coaching works better in smaller scale programs adapted to local contexts or if these can be developed on a large scale in a cost-effective, methodological and high-quality way.