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The Influence of Instructional Coaches on Improving Teaching and Student Performance

by Simons, Mariella Hodges

Abstract (Summary)
Name: Mariella Hodges Simons Date of Degree: Summer, 2006 Institution: Mississippi State University Major Field: Educational Leadership Major Professor: Dr. James Adams Title of Study: THE INFLUENCE OF INSTRUCTIONAL COACHES ON IMPROVING TEACHING AND STUDENT PERFORAMANCE Pages in Study: Candidate for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Instructional coaching is emerging as a job-embedded professional development tool for schools to utilize in an effort to improve teaching practice and student achievement. Since there is a lack of understanding of the differing roles served by instructional coaches in schools and the functions they perform that influence teacher utilization of best practice procedures in teaching, this study concentrated on giving voice to teachers and administrators regarding their concerns and changes in teaching behavior. By listening to the assertions of educators employed within the schools housing an instructional coach, it is possible to gain an in-depth understanding of how the presence of an instructional coach influences, or does not influence, the efforts or initiatives undertaken by the school and district to positively influence student performance. The intent of this qualitative case study was to examine the roles played by instructional coaches in two schools in the third largest district within the state of Mississippi and how administrators, teachers, and students (the stakeholders) are affected by the presence of instructional coaches within this environment, inclusive of hindrances or problems perceived. Recommendations included: (a) school districts should locate funds to assign an instructional coach to every school, (b) train the principal of the school housing an instructional coach so he understands the roles, exclusions, and possibilities inherent in the position, (c) write a detailed job description for the coaching position and devise a list of tasks the coach is NOT to perform, such as substitute in classes and evaluate teachers, to clarify the expectations for the program and communicate the true mission of the position, (d) make certain through the principal that teachers are aware of the roles to be served within the school by the instructional coach, emphasizing the fact that the coach is not a supervisor and will not serve in an evaluative capacity (e) utilize coaches to educate stakeholders on the guidelines within current legislation that affects the school community, (f) train the coaches on strategies to use in teacher training sessions that are conducted ?just in time? at the local school (g) educate the instructional coaches on adult learning theory and brain based research, (h) provide coaches with a variety of strategies that can be utilized to train teachers that are in different career stages as such differentiation of training models what is expected in the classroom, (i) hire coaches that are effective classroom teachers, (j) employ instructional coaches within a school that are leaders and have organizational skills, (k) note that obtaining similar results contained within this study may only occur if that district provides the same level of support as is offered by the district in this study, (l) make certain that district and school level administrators are aware of the literature provided by various professional education organizations in support of the instructional coaching program, (m) prepare all stakeholders for the possibility that results of the instructional coaching program may not be noted in the first year of program implementation, (n) consider the climate of the school and the stylistic and technical skills of the coach applicants in selecting the right coach for the job, (o) support for the instructional coaching program openly from the district level, (p) schedule regular meetings with other instructional coaches so they can share frustrations, strategies, and challenges, (q) utilize the expertise of the coach to analyze test data, (r) require coaches to maintain a log of their activities across the entire school year and collate that information into percentages of time spent in various activities for sharing with stakeholders, (s) allow coaches to assist each other in their area of expertise, (t) investigate how other districts are using instructional coaches and how they have resolved any defined struggles, (u) make certain that the principal and all teachers within the building understand that the instructional coach is not a part of the evaluation team, (v) design time within the school day for teachers to access the expertise of the coach, (w) voice principal support of the instructional coaching program effectively so that teachers clearly understand that the school administrator expects cooperation and collaboration to happen between the coach and teachers, (x) communicate expectations for school improvement clearly through the voice of the principal and echoed through the instructional coach and the plans put into place by the school leadership team.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Mabel Okojie; Dr. James Adams; Dr. Richard Blackbourn; Dr. Clyde Lindley; Dr. James E. Davis; Dr. Jerry Mathews

School:Mississippi State University

School Location:USA - Mississippi

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:educational leadership

ISBN:

Date of Publication:11/30/2006

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