The Teaching Profession

Digital Promise Issues Instructional Coaching Playbook

Digital Promise has developed a guide to help schools and districts develop their teacher coaching programs. The "Instructional Coaching Playbook" covers why coaches are needed and how to develop or improve a successful coaching program.

The contents of the playbook are based on three years of research done through the Dynamic Learning Project pilot, an instructional coaching program and research study that Digital Promise developed with Google's education division and EdTechTeam, a company that provides professional development services for educators.

The pilot reached instructional technology coaches and school leaders in 163 schools in 32 school districts, with a mix of mentoring, professional development and continuous improvement data.

According to the research project, well-designed coaching increased teacher retention, transformed teacher learning, improved teacher instructional practices and student outcomes, and improved the school culture. The program found that compared to those teachers who didn't get the coaching, those who did "used technology more frequently and in more impactful ways with their students, which resulted in increased student engagement and learning." The Google for Education Certified Coach Program grew out of the pilot.

The new playbook covers three main topics:

  • Why teachers need coaches, and how to make a case for establishing coaching in the school or district or boosting the coaching program that already exists;

  • How to create a "sustainable and scalable" coaching program; and

  • What the principles are for building the coach-teacher relationship that are the foundation for any successful coaching program.

"As schools rapidly shifted to remote learning this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that those schools that already had a digital learning coach had an advantage. Coaches were incredibly valuable as thought partners and problem solvers as teachers sought to support student learning at home," said Digital Promise President and CEO, Karen Cator, in a statement. "The strategies and recommendations outlined in the new 'Instructional Coaching Playbook' will position more schools and districts for success."

The "Instructional Coaching Playbook" is openly available on the Digital Promise website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.