Reform in teacher professional development: Case studies of teacher -directed coaching

Sandra Reid, Fordham University


This qualitative case study documented, described, and analyzed the experiences of three, experienced elementary teachers who voluntarily participated in a district-sponsored and teacher-directed coaching program. The teachers worked in the same elementary school in a suburban district. Two of the teachers taught all subjects in the 4th grade. The third teacher taught all subjects in the 5th grade. The researcher audiotaped the planning and reflecting conversations with each teacher. Therefore, the transcriptions from those audiotapes were the main source for data collection. However, at the end of the coaching program, the teachers were asked to reflect in writing about their experience. These writings were also used as a data source. The data sources were analyzed to uncover common issues and activities and outcomes. The 5 themes which emerged from the data were: (a) classroom management, (b) instructional practices, (c) collegial support, (d) valuing assistance, and (e) recognizing the complexity of teaching. Instructional techniques and teaching strategies were important issues for all teachers. Materials to meet the needs of the diverse learners in the teachers' classrooms were also an area addressed during the coaching process. Each of the teachers expressed how talking helped them think through ideas and receiving feedback about instruction helped to keep them focused. Finally, each teacher came to recognize the multi-dimensional nature of teaching. The evidence from this study support the need for carefully designed on-going, job-embedded professional development opportunities that challenge teachers to discuss and reflect on the instructional practices employed in their classrooms. Three hypotheses were generated from the findings. Hypothesis 1. Experienced elementary teachers who volunteer to participate in a teacher-directed coaching program are concerned about deepening their understanding of specific instructional practices and materials that will facilitate student learning. Hypothesis 2. Dialogic conversations appear to be a pivotal component in the professional development of experienced elementary teachers. Hypothesis 3. Experienced elementary teachers who self-select topic areas of interest in the coaching process benefit from the coaching experience. The outcome of this study has implications for reform in designing teacher professional development. Recommendations were suggested for further research in the above areas to assist in designing professional development programs.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Reid, Sandra, "Reform in teacher professional development: Case studies of teacher -directed coaching" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3166576.