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ERIC Number: ED576747
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 163
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3697-3249-8
A Phenomenological Study of Elementary School Instructional Coaches
Seid, Carol M.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Drake University
Problem: Many school districts have implemented instructional coaching as a mechanism to increase professional capacity and student learning (Bean, 2009; Ippolito, 2010; Lia, 2016; Massey, 2012; Pomerantz & Pierce, 2013; Walpole & Blamey, 2008). Instructional coaches have many roles and responsibilities (Bean, 2009; Borman, Feger, & Kawakami, 2006; Dean, Dyal, Wright, Carpenter, & Austin, 2012; Feighan & Heeren, 2009, Massey, 2012). Scholarly research on the topic of instructional coaching is scarce (Marzano & Simms, 2013). Procedures: This phenomenological study (Creswell, 2013; Moustakas, 1994) explored the lived experiences of six elementary school instructional coaches. A single overarching question guided this study: What is it like to be an elementary school instructional coach? Using purposeful nominated criterion and voluntary sampling (Creswell, 2014; Bogdan & Biklen, 2007), data were collected from participants through electronic surveys, interviews, and artifact review. Data analysis involved initial coding, chunking, and thematizing to detail the essence of the instructional coaching experiences. Data were verified through triangulation, thick description, code-recode, reflexive journaling, and member checking. Written findings reflect the thick description to capture the essence of elementary instructional coaching. Findings: Data analysis revealed the lived experience of an elementary school instructional coach as influenced by roles and responsibilities, effectiveness and impact, relationships and communication, and characteristics and professional learning. The essence of the instructional coach experience emerged as benefits and challenges of elementary instructional coaches were comprehensively described. Conclusions: Roles and responsibilities of elementary school instructional coaches focus primarily on individual teachers and teacher teams in professional learning communities. Instructional coaches experience a variety of relationships with teachers as they work together. The relationship with the principal is key to utilization and successful coaching experience for the instructional coach. Deficit language models may create negative perceptions of instructional coaches. Perceptions of instructional coaching may impact utilization, especially in voluntary coaching models. Instructional coaching is a new layer of staffing in the educational organization. Coaches feel they don't fit in anywhere and need support. Recommendations: Benefits and challenges of being an instructional coach exist--at times aspects of coaching are a both benefit and a challenge. Regular system-wide review of the purpose for the instructional coach role is key to ensuring the fidelity to the purpose of the role is maintained. Working with, and coaching teacher teams has larger impact opportunities than when working with individuals. Coaching teacher teams and professional learning communities should be the primary focus of instructional coaches. Deficit coaching models may not develop teacher capacity, so intentionally positive language should be used. Relationships are vital for instructional coaching success, especially the coach-principal relationship. Specific structures may provide productive working relationships and effective communication. Parameters around the coaching role should be provided and supported by the building principal. Incorporation of student learning and growth into instructional coach measures of impact will provide empirical evidence of coaching effectiveness. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A