MyNotes: Instructional Coaching for Implementing Visible Learning

There have been some great resources shared about the topic of instructional coaching. As a way of career advancement, educators seek out these roles. Those in professional instructional support may seek more insights into coaching as well. For all those who seek to learn about coaching, one person remains the authority on the topic. That person is Jim Knight.

Schools and educators are also seeking out strategies that work. These have to be research-based strategies that work. Who do they look to? One person with the research handy is John Hattie.
Translating research into practice can be tough. It's no surprise that teachers may want to rely on a coach. But given the misinformation out there on what works, what does not, what is a coach to do?

Instructional Coaching for Implementing Visible Learning

On March 20, 2019, Jim Knight wrote an article for the Center for Research on Learning.
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 101; 
© 2019 Jim Knight. Instructional Coaching for Implementing Visible Learning: A Model for Translating Research into Practice. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

An adapted version of the abstract for the article appears below:
Visible Learning has been one of the most influential, education research initiatives conducted. Instructional coaching has become the most popular form of professional development.
How might the implemention of Visible Learning be supported through instructional coaching efforts? This article does three things:
  • offers a brief summary of the central tenants of Visible Learning;
  • summarizes the foundational research on instructional coaching
  • describes what those findings reveal about effective instructional coaching practices; and
  • points out how  instructional coaching may support the implementation of Visible Learning
Wow, that's pretty exciting stuff, eh? Here are my notes from the article. You'll want to read the article to get the complete context, of course.

My Notes

  1. Annual expense on professional development? For the 50 largest school districts, that amount was around $8 billion dollars. (Source: A study from 2015 cited in article).
  2. Visible Learning:
    1. One of the most influential research initiatives conducted in the field of education
    2. Gathered over 15-20 year period, VL involved analyzing more than 800 meta-analyses. Now, that number has grown to 1400 plus in 2018.
    3. Ten mindframes arose from the research:
      1. Teachers make their impact visible
      2. Teachers use assessment to inform their impact and next steps
      3. Teachers collaborate with peers and students about conceptions of progress and impact
      4. Teachers see themselves as change agents that believe all students can grow
      5. Teachers strive for challenge not only do their best
      6. Teachers provide students with feedback. Teachers act on feedback they receive about their efforts.
      7. Teachers engage in dialogue as much as monologue
      8. Teachers inform students what success looks like.
      9. Teachers build relationships and trust so learning can occur in a safe space. This safe space makes it ok to make mistakes and learn from others.
      10. Teachers focus on the learning and language of learning.
  3. Instructional Coaching:
    1. In the past...
      1. Teachers had low expectations for professional development
      2. Teachers did not find that professional development met their needs
      3. Teachers complained that professional developers failed to recognize expertise teachers had
      4. Teachers seldom implemented what they heard about in workshops
      5. Professional developers approach is a barrier to implementation
    2. Definition of Instructional Coaching
      1. “Instructional coaches (a) partner with teachers to (b) analyze current reality, (c) set goals, (d) identify and explain teaching strategies to hit the goals, and (e) provide support until the goals are met”
      2. Instructional coaching is not a one size fits all model
      3. coaches respond to the context where coaching occurs
      4. it is described as "informed-adaptive"
      5. coaches are emotionally intelligent (skilled at forstering trust and building relationships that lead to learning)
      6. Coaches have a deep knowledge of instructional practices that enables them to offer more options to teachers who partner with them to meet student needs
      7. when taking the partnership approach, coaches must structure coaching so that teachers use their own knowledge and experience to decide how Visible Learning will be implemented.
      8. Coaches taking the partnership approach provide support when needed (perhaps suggesting ways in which goals may be measured or suggesting teaching strategies teachers might implement to reach goals) while also ensuring that teachers make the final decisions about what they will do in their classrooms.
      9. When coaches take the partnership approach, they ensure that teachers use their professional discretion to determine the best practices for their classroom.
      10. Partnership approach: instructional coaches partner with teachers
        1. coaches see themselves as equals with teachers
        2. coaches recognize that every teacher brings expertise to   a coaching conversation
        3. they share ideas dialogically, balancing advocacy (explaining practices) with inquiry (asking questions and listening) that acknowledges that each teacher will likely need to modify practices to meet unique needs of his or her students
  4. Instructional Coaching Model
  5. Developed at Univ. Kansas Center for Research on Learning
  6. The Impact Cycle
    1. Identify:
      1. Involves coaches partnering with teachers to identify:
        1. a clear picture of reality. This can be done by  (a) video recording a lesson and sharing it with teachers; (b) interviewing students and sharing the interview data; (c) reviewing student work with the teachers; or (d) gathering objective data in the classroom and then sharing that data with the collaborating teacher
        2. a PEERS goal.  "PEERS: Powerful, Emotionally Compelling, Easy, Reachable, and Student-Focused. Powerful goals are goals that make a socially significant difference in students’ lives. Emotionally compelling goals are goals that teachers really want to hit."  Goals have 3 elements: (a) a preferred future or goal; (b) pathways to the goal; and (c) agency, a belief that the goal can be hit. Goals must be stated and measurable, identify strategies teachers can use, and state the goal and identifying strategies.
        3. a strategy the teacher will put in place to hit the goal
        4. Sample questions for Identify (longer list in article) include: "What's on your mind?;" "On a scale of 1-10, with one being the worst lesson you've taught and 10 being the best, how would rank that lesson? Why? Why didn't you give it a lower number?"
      2. Learn: Coach helps prepare the teacher to hit the goal. To achieve this the coach...
        1. describes the strategy to put in place (often with a checklist), and 
        2. provides a model of the strategy in one or more way
      3. Improve: Coach supports the teacher as adaptations are made until goal is met
There's a lot more to this article. Be sure to read it. I'll continue my exploration in future blog entries.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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