Instructional Coaching – new and innovative CPD

by | Nov 2, 2023 | Coaching, Curriculum, Leadership

Instructional Coaching – new and innovative CPD

This is my fourth article focusing on instructional coaching and its place in the language of continuing professional development in the UK. I have looked at the philosophy and see how the concept, which has its origins in the USA, can work here in the pursuance of the highest quality of teaching and its impact on learning and the continuous improvement of both pupils and staff. I have also focused on the principles of partnership that underpin the thinking behind this particular coaching philosophy and in my last article wrote about the impact cycle to which the process takes its foundations and structure.

Read the previous three articles on the Learning Cultures’ website.

The power of coaching and the reason why it works so well in education is the underlying principle that an individual, given the right conditions can find the solution, has the capacity to learn and make progress and will create their own goals for continuous improvement. Where teachers and their pupils are given the self-belief that they can make a difference to their own learning, attainment and achievement they will rise to the challenge. The limiting factors in any educational setting are when improvement is owned as a perception from a line manager or leader and is dictated from above.

CPD is an investment in time and costs considerable sums of valuable school or college funding. It should be a consideration at the very beginning of any plan for a CPD strategy that it will have a measurable impact on whole school, team and individual incremental and continuous improvement. It should dovetail seamlessly into the school’s vision and be an integral element of ensuring that curriculum intent will be realised in the careful construction of a well-planned and expert curriculum strategy that is implemented in the pursuance of pedagogical and content excellence.

The Education Endowment Foundation have recently looked at CPD in their research and guidance on effective professional development.

Instructional coaching provides a framework for a continuing professional development strand that delivers a sustainable model where coach and coachee are defined through partnership and never through a triangulated hierarchy. The model we advocate takes some of the principles from the EEF but aligns them with the more subtle principles of a coaching approach, see my interpretation below,

Bulidng knowledge
Managing cognitive load
Revisiting prior learning
Sequencing new learning
Making connections within subjects and in cross-curricular contexts

Motivating teachers
Setting and agreeing on goals (coach and coachee)
Using research to present a learning agenda
Using coaching techniques to reinforce, reaffirm and reflect
Creating the right conditions for continuous and incremental improvements in pedagogy and learning

Supporting innovation
Creating professional learning communities
Modelling new approaches (the coach and the coachee)
Positive formative assessment
Observing for learning for both the pupil, the teacher and the coach
Assessing and celebrating impact, progression, effort and achievement

Continuous improvement in teaching and learning
Sharing good practice through dialogue and low stakes observation
Setting goals for continuous ongoing practice and improvement
Encouraging a culture of reflection
Measuring impact and planning next steps

Start your coaching journey with our live webinar, Approaches to Instructional Coaching.

The curriculum and the self-determination of subject leaders and their teams

Where a school or college builds an instructional coaching model into their CPD plan all staff need to feel that they belong to the process. What is essential is that staff feel motivated to want to be a part of the whole organisation drive for the highest quality of education and know that they are embraced in the cocoon of a belief that they can succeed and be an important thread in the tapestry of powerful curriculum and organisational success.

Creating an ethos that fosters self-determination over the hierarchical top-down model takes courage and good leadership. It does, however, bring with it huge opportunities to build a learning culture that captures the enthusiasm and expertise that exists in our schools and provides a platform for a shared desire for time to collaborate, communicate and celebrate what is exceptional, what really works well and what makes a difference to learning in the classroom and beyond.

Coaching allows the teacher the autonomy to think about their own good practice and what they need to do to improve themselves. Instructional coaching is simply the term used to describe pedagogical professional learning where teachers and their coaches work together towards a goal that has been determined by the teacher and not their coach, the lead practitioner or their line manager.

The determination to improve is for both the coach and the coachee. It should always be linked to the whole school vision and the curriculum intent. There must be open communication and senior and subject leadership professional dialogue that creates a consensus between leaders, subject specialists and their teams. The conversation must consolidate a shared belief as to what is excellence in teaching, learning, planning curriculum content and the kind of formative assessment that is challenging and leads to progression and success for all pupils.

Collaborative dialogue and powerful instructional coaching

The coach must have a deep understanding of what outstanding pedagogy looks like in the classroom, They should have learnt how to coach and have practised their skills in order that they can reflect on the power of positive questioning,  active listening skills and the influencing skills that impact on how others can find their own solutions, manage their time, deal with change and be the architect of their own destiny.

Developing the skills of a coach is life changing and career changing. All those who experience the power of coaching become so much more self-aware and aware of the effect that a coach can have on how individuals change through the process. The process is never judgmental, never directive and always positive. The skill of a coach is to see the potential of others and how through gentle persuasion and careful construction of a realisation that positive change will benefit the individual, their pupils, their teams will ensure that the whole school or college vision is achieved.

A well-planned curriculum includes a focus on the pedagogy that will facilitate the implementation. The symbiosis between planning what will be a part of the learning in relation to knowledge acquisition and skills competence and the how this is taught creates the highest quality of education.

Where curriculum and pedagogy are aligned pupils learn, teachers are confident with their approaches, models and procedures and the outcomes produce a learning classroom. There is a growing belief that lesson observation is at its most valuable where it is a shared activity that gives the teacher, the leader and the pupil an opportunity to be an integral part of the process of evaluating their experience and share what they feel is creating the right conditions for learning.

We are supporting many schools and colleges who are developing a coaching strategy as part of how they plan and deliver continuing professional development. Our philosophy is to provide a CPD offer that is sustainable, cost effective and that will have a lasting impact for all pupils and staff. Instructional coaching is a key element of this, especially in the pursuance of the highest quality of pedagogy and deep learning. We can offer bespoke packages that will build the quality you are looking for as you look to create excellence and continuous improvement across the whole organisation.

Ask us about our certification series,

Give me, Glynis Frater, a call to discuss a bespoke coaching programme for your unique setting, Glynis 07974 754241 or use our Contact us form to send us a message so that we can contact you. Contact us

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