In the recent past, education research has concluded that staff development through workshops and conferences is not effective any more. This has bee the traditional method used in the education sector and even teachers have agreed that the method no longer offers the sustained opportunities for collaboration, feedback or even the much needed reflection that would be essential in changing the classroom practice.
This has necessitated and seen to the emergence of a new method of professional learning in school institutions. Instead of conferences and workshops that were previously used, institutions have now employed school-based staff developers. Peer coaching has been adopted as a method for peer coaching. San Diego and Boston School districts are examples of the pioneers of the methodology, though they are just two of the many school districts using the method now.
The shift from the traditional method to peer coaching has been dictated by a number of factors. Research in education institutions has shown that this is the effective method for staff development as it meets the needs of the teachers and is successful in shaping classroom practice. It is clear from this research that the workshops and conferences which constitute the traditional method of staff development do not provide enough time, activities and content that is necessary for promotion of change. Only a small percentage of staff implements what they learn from the traditional methods in their classroom practice. The teachers do not acquire necessary skills and knowledge for the implementation of the new knowledge and attempts to do so are thwarted by a lack of feedback. Staff needs to have time to evaluate new strategies reproduced in the classroom besides an opportunity to use learnt skill for the implementation of learning activities. 2.0 Coaching for school improvement
Coaching might be the most successful way in which teachers who are reluctant can be turned into passionate users of new technology. In order for a coaching program to be launched, a school district sets aside some funds for full time coaches. A coach can have a team of about 20 to 30 teachers under him. The main goal is to reach out to as many teachers as possible. For every coaching project, there is a planning session. The coach and the teachers identify the main areas of interest that would require the services of the coach. Both parties then develop a strategy for execution of the plan . School-based coaching has been found to be consistent with the standards set for effective development of staff by the National Staff Development Council (NSDC) . Coaching was one of the recommendations by NSDC. According to the council, coaching benefits the students, the curriculum as well as the teachers .
Coaching, as has been written by Showers and Joyce, has the best advantage at changing the behavior of teachers as compared to other learning strategies for adults . There are several coaching programs and some are seen to be more effective than others. In order for a coaching program to be successful, there are a number of factors to be considered. 2.1 Framework for coaching model
2.1.1 Factors associated with coaching success
In any learning environment, learning is enhanced if the learners are at ease. The most effective coaches begin by putting their partners at ease. School leaders might be tempted to employ the services of the most experienced and qualified coaches. However, this would not work as well as if the coaches hired are diplomatic, tactful and relate well with their subjects. These qualities build trust in the partners who are working together with the coaches. Leaders are therefore advised to be cautious about promoting teachers on the basis of their performance and attitude. This could result in jeopardizing the relationship they have with their peers . 2.
In any coaching program, the coach must involve the peers...
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