Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching — A Partnership Between the Annenberg Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Education
Coaching Tip of the Month
December 2013 PDF Print E-mail

In our newest outreach to the coaching community,, I wrote about coaches being in the position to disrupt the status quo. That doesn’t mean that coaches burst into classrooms or bombard teachers with the “perfect” lesson plan, a flawless instructional delivery, or the perfect remedy to increase student engagement. What it means is that instructional coaches are positioned to encourage ongoing conversations about teaching and learning in ways that are reflective, deliberate, and challenging. It means that coaches and teachers work together and “walk the talk” about innovation, collaboration, and critical thinking. They need to work together to focus on authentic issues and problem-solve to gather the collective wisdom of the group to resolve these issues.

November 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Ah, Thanksgiving… so much for which to be thankful, especially looking forward to a few days off for the Thanksgiving holiday!  We all need time to rest up after the marathon eating of Turkey and all the trimmings!

In many of my conversations with coaches, one thing is taking the lead about instructional coaching. How do coaches work with teachers to implement effective instructional practices in non-evaluative ways? How do coaches work with teachers to share a variety of instructional techniques if they can’t get to classrooms to see how the teachers practice?

October 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Sure, coaches work with colleagues in confidential, non-evaluative ways. But, what does that really mean? How do I approach teachers with whom I have not worked previously and automatically expect them to welcome me with open arms, especially if I haven’t taken time to share any thinking about instructional coaching and how coaches support teaching and learning?

September 2013 PDF Print E-mail

As the new year begins, memories of the summer fade away and are replaced with thoughts about common core, educator effectiveness, keystone exams, differentiated instruction, and a host of other initiatives that give teachers, students, parents, school administrators, coaches and mentors lots to think about but little time to do anything but think about it. We know that the rationale behind sharing yet another one or two new endeavors for the school year is to promote the overall success of students and to triangulate the data among student achievement, teacher performance and the school/district “standings.” Yet, having a standardized plan delineating what to do about successfully implementing those undertakings still elude many of us.

June 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Well, here it is... June! Many of our instructional coaches from around the state are focusing on tying up loose ends for the year and thinking about how to begin in September. As you reflect on your practice, think about the questions you need to ask yourself as you plan for school opening... Should I assemble teachers into cohort groups to coach so everyone can practice the B, D, A cycle of coaching? How should I recruit teachers to work with me? How can I hit the ground running and build partnerships with staff members who may be very comfortable doing what they have always done in class? How do I remove the stigma of working with teachers where coaching is mandated and not developed through a collaborative process?  How do I support teachers in a part-time position? These are all process questions: how do I engage teachers, support their diverse needs, and provide ongoing professional learning that is tied to CCSS, teacher practice, research, and student outcomes? In planning how to start, however, don't forget the essential questions that influence your actions: 1) What am I doing as a coach to help teachers change and improve their practice; and 2) What am I doing as a coach to help teachers improve student engagement and outcomes?