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An Exploration of Instructional Coaching in Western Pennsylvania Schools

Thomas, Aaron (2017) An Exploration of Instructional Coaching in Western Pennsylvania Schools. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Providing high-quality professional learning opportunities for teaching staff is a key responsibility for school leaders that can lead to increased teacher capacity and higher student outcomes. Instructional coaching is a professional development model that has gained in popularity over the past decade. An instructional coach is an individual who works with teachers one-on-one, or in a small group setting on a variety of professional learning topics aiming to increase teacher capacity. This qualitative study examined the experiences of three instructional coaches who are currently working in Western Pennsylvania secondary schools. The three participants work in districts that vary in size, setting, and socioeconomic status. Participants engaged in semi-structured interviews, observations of coaching sessions, and document analysis to examine how instructional coaches perceive their impact on teacher practice, how instructional coaches are able to achieve teacher buy-in, and how the coaching process has enhanced the practices, knowledge and beliefs of instructional coaches. The findings for this qualitative study provide insight for consideration by school leaders, instructional coaches, teachers, school board members, and policy makers. The findings resulted in emerging themes for each research question and five overarching conclusions to the study. Conclusions drawn from this research suggest that school leadership is vital to instructional coaching implementation and success, schools must have an established vision and purpose for instructional coaching and professional development to maximize impact, coaching is a reciprocal process resulting in both instructional coach and teacher advancement, varying contexts should be taken into consideration when implementing instructional coaching, and instructional coaches possess a strong sense of self in terms of self-learning, self-motivation. While these themes were evident in the literature empirical research on instructional coaching is still limited. These findings reveal significant understandings in regard to how instructional coaches perceive their impact on teacher practice, how instructional coaches were able to achieve teacher buy-in and how the instructional coaching has enhanced the beliefs and practices of instructional coaches.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thomas, Aaronamt92@pitt.eduamt92
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.eduTANANIS
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.eduTROVATO
Committee MemberMcClure, Maureen W.mmcclure@pitt.eduMMCCLURE
Committee MemberCopeland,
Date: 29 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 May 2017
Approval Date: 29 September 2017
Submission Date: 24 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 171
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Development, Instructional Coaching, Instruction, School Reform, Instructional Practice
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2017 12:32
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2017 12:32

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