The perceptions and opinions of K-6 elementary school teachers regarding instructional coaching

This study focused on perceptions of K-6 elementary school teachers regarding instructional coaching. One-on-one digitally recorded interviews included three teachers from the Central Valley of California. The collected data were used to determine the perceptions of teachers regarding their experiences in working with an instructional coach, how instructional coaching may improve classroom practice and student achievement and possible limitations placed upon instructional coaching and how they may be addressed. The findings revealed that teachers' experiences in working with instructional coaches differ; however, professional development, the coaching partnership and the embedded desired qualities expected among instructional coaches has a profound impact on teacher effectiveness and student achievement. The instructional coaches' partnership with the classroom teacher fosters growth and influences new instructional practices, techniques and strategies. The on-going collaboration, feedback and reflective conversation promote improved classroom practice and aim at impacting student outcomes. Participants discussed limitations of instructional coaching when professional development is not relevant nor meeting the needs of all teachers. The results of this study indicate and support that instructional coaches are critical change agents when there is a rigorous shift in educational effectiveness and student achievement. Reflected in this study is the perception and opinion of teachers that instructional coaching ensures the quality and effectiveness of classroom instruction while helping to maintain and build the capacity of teachers.