By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Monday, October 9, 2017

As you probably already know, the Trump administration has submitted a budget proposal that cuts funding to education. One of those cuts is the elimination of Title II funding which targets professional learning and instructional coaches. The good news is that instructional coaching is recognized as professional learning; the bad news is that our most precious commodity – our children – are not important enough to ensure that highly effective teachers are teaching them. Shameful!

We know that instructional coaching is effective… our data confirms it: 89% of teachers surveyed in 2016-2017 indicated that they changed their practices as a result of the coaching they received; 100% reported that these changes had a positive impact on student engagement and 97% said that student learning was positively impacted by the coaching they received. And, in fact, the positive effects of PIIC instructional coaching has remained consistent over time. (See survey report:  http://piic.pacoaching.org/images/PIICdocuments/Research_and_Eval/piic%20follow-up%20teacher%20survey%20analysis%20brief_final_03-21-17%20pdf.pdf).

I don’t think that coaching is the objection; I think teacher professional development is the objection. Whether you are an “insider” or “outsider,” the common misconceptions about professional development are that teachers went to college so they shouldn’t need additional professional development and that professional development as we know it is meaningless, unsubstantial, and unconnected to student needs.

Wow… that may be true in some places but not where there are instructional coaches. Our coaches ensure that the professional learning they support is needs driven, tied to teacher practices, aligned to standards, and targeted on evidence-based literacy practices. We know that instructional coaches build teacher capacity, help increase student engagement, and influence student learning. Instructional coaches ensure that continuous learning is the norm and the culture of the school supports that thinking.

What data do you find helpful in demonstrating the impact of instructional coaching in classrooms and schools?

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