What effect does the coaching model of professional development have on the building of teacher capacity?
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2018 Bartolo Alexandre Martinho Guedes
The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of the GROW coaching model of professional development on the capacity building of teachers in an educational context. Teachers have a significant impact on student outcomes and it is crucial to build their capacity to maximise their influence in the classroom. The provision of professional development is seen as a fundamental component of supporting teachers in building their capacity as educators, to implement strategies in the classroom, and to maximise their influence on students. Schools, government and the educational community at large have long made concerted efforts to build teacher capacity, aiming to reduce the large variance between teachers’ effects on student outcomes. The provision of coaching in various forms has been found to support the implementation of strategies in the classroom. This study aims to examine the influence of the GROW coaching model to develop teachers’ skills, knowledge and dispositions to build their capacity as educators. The study examines the implementation against the elements set out in Guskey’s Five Critical Levels of Professional Development Evaluation Model to understand the factors and conditions that foster implementation. The study utilised a criterion purposive sampling approach (Patton, 1990) and involved 24 coaches and coachees total. Participation in the study was voluntary and no incentives or reimbursements were offered for participation. A range of data was gathered and examined; the research design incorporated a mixed-methods approach that applied three complementary data collection tools including survey, interview and observation. The analysis of the data was conducted to inform the findings. The data collected through the open-ended online questionnaire and interview research instruments provided opportunities to explore, in closer detail, the responses of participants to key questions. These questions centre on identified coaching variables of teacher learning and how these are manifested in their practice both in and outside of the classroom. These responses provide an important insight into what changes may occur in teacher pedagogy and teacher disposition, evidenced through changes in the classroom environment and the teachers’ thinking processes. A thematic analysis based on Braun and Clarke’s (2006) 6-step framework was undertaken to systematically analyse the data. The codes were set according to elements highlighted by the Guskey model (2000), targeted on both teacher practice and student behaviours, changes in teacher professional practice outside the classroom showed changes in their dispositions as a teacher and reflections on their practice. The findings revealed that the GROW coaching model supported the professional development of educators to build their capacity as teachers across the areas of skills, knowledge and dispositions. The GROW coaching model supported teachers to implement various strategies in their classrooms. Factors that affected the program included: (a) the time set aside for teachers and coaches; (b) the relationship and level of trust between the coach and coachee; (c) the program and content knowledge of the coach; (d) the culture of the school; and (e) the allocation of coaches and how they were selected. The relationship between coach and coachee emerged as a key factor in the success of the program, and together with the allocation of coaches impacted on participants, especially when challenging their dispositions through “professional conversations”. The GROW model’s process and “sequence of questioning” raised awareness of teaching practices and provided a way for teachers to receive feedback on the implementation of strategies in the classroom. Further attention to the impact of the GROW coaching model for teacher capacity building and its effect on student outcomes is needed to better understand the relationship between “professional conversations”, coaching and impact on student outcomes. In the future, equal attention should be afforded to understanding the behaviour of teachers as they implement strategies in the classroom, and how professional development programs can best support their capacity building.
KeywordsCoaching, GROW model, capacity building, professional development, Guskey Model, teacher practice, coaching implementation
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