Skip Navigation

Ask a REL Response

Coaching models for high school English teachers — August 2017

Question

Could you provide research on coaching for high school teachers in literacy?

Response

Following an established REL West research protocol, we conducted a search for research reports as well as descriptive study articles on coaching models for high school teachers in literacy. The sources included ERIC and other federally funded databases and organizations, research institutions, academic research databases, and general Internet search engines (for details, please see the methods section at the end of this memo).

We have not evaluated the quality of references and the resources provided in this response. We offer them only for your information. Also, we searched for references through the most commonly used sources of research, but the list is not comprehensive and other relevant references and resources may exist.

Research References

Neufeld, B., & Roper, D. (2003). Coaching: A strategy for developing instructional capacity: Promises and practicalities. Washington, DC: Aspen Institute Program on Education and Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Retrieved from http://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/product/268/files/Coaching.pdf

From the abstract: “This paper takes as its orientation the knowledge and skill that district leaders must draw on if they are to develop successful, systemwide approaches to coaching. However, the paper is also written to be of value to coaches, teachers, principals, and policy-makers who can benefit from understanding what we call the promises and practicalities of coaching. Our analysis is based primarily on what we have learned from Education Matters’ longitudinal, qualitative studies of this professional development approach in Boston, Corpus Christi, Louisville, and San Diego. Over the last six years, we conducted hundreds of in-depth interviews with coaches, teachers who work with coaches, principals, and central office administrators in an effort to learn about the design, implementation, and influence of coaching on wholeschool, instructionally focused reform. In addition, we observed district-provided coach professional development as well as school-based professional development provided by coaches, and we reviewed pertinent documents related to coaches’ work.”

Other Resources

Al Otaiba, S., Hosp, J. L., Smartt, S., & Dole, J. A. (2008). The challenging role of a reading coach, a cautionary tale. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 18(2), 124-155. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689306/

From the abstract: “The purpose of this case study is to describe the challenges one coach faced during the initial implementation of a coaching initiative involving 33 teachers in an urban, high-poverty elementary school. Reading coaches are increasingly expected to play a key role in the professional development efforts to improve reading instruction in order to improve reading achievement for struggling readers. Data sources included initial reading scores for kindergarten and first-graders, pretest and posttest scores of teachers’ knowledge, a teacher survey, focus group interviews, project documents, and field notes. Data were analyzed using a mixed methods approach. Findings revealed several challenges that have important implications for research and practice: that teachers encountered new information about teaching early reading that conflicted with their current knowledge, this new information conflicted with their core reading program, teachers had differing perceptions of the role of the reading coach that affected their feelings about the project, and reform efforts are time-intensive.”

Bean, R., & DeFord, D. (2012). Do’s and don’ts for literacy coaches: Advice from the field. Urbana, IL: Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED530365

From the abstract: “Literacy or instructional coaches are becoming increasingly important in schools at all grade levels (kindergarten through grade 12). Because this is a growing professional leadership role, there is a new excitement about possible improvements to literacy instruction and increases in student achievement that may result from having formalized, in-school leadership. According to the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), literacy coaches are assuming a range of complex tasks within schools. They participate in instructional planning, assist in assessment of students, and spend a substantial amount of time coaching—observing, demonstration teaching, and talking to teachers about instruction. Many coaches enjoy their new role and find that teachers are receptive and eager to benefit from the support they receive. At the same time, given the newness of this role, and the different ways that coaches are viewed—by teachers, administrators, and even school board members—coaches are eager to get as much information as they can about how to perform their role effectively. The intent of this brief is to provide ideas that have come from the field—from coaches themselves who have learned ‘on the job.’ Some of these coaches work in elementary schools, others in middle or high schools. The information was obtained from studies that the authors have done and from informal interviews that they conducted with coaches at various levels—primary, intermediate, middle, and high school. In this brief, the authors share with readers ideas that they hope will help all coaches, but especially the new coach, to work effectively in a school.”

Brettschneider, A. (2009). PLCs meet PCs: Technology-supported literacy coaching within and between disciplines. Urbana, IL: Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED530300.pdf

From the abstract: “This case study documented ways that participants in an urban high school collaborated to develop a Connected Coaching approach to literacy learning in the content areas. Analysis of interviews, observations, and archival documents provided detailed descriptions of ways the literacy coach and teachers worked together to integrate content concepts and literacy strategies. At the high school, the literacy coach served as a catalyst for professional growth. This study examined the progression of collaboration toward instructional improvement across a two-year period. Collaboration with individuals grew to include clusters of colleagues teaching the same subjects, and then to involve grade-level teams. Within these limitations, this study suggests a practical approach for other coaches in similar settings and helps illuminate the dynamics of professional development at the secondary level.”

Campbell, M. B., & Sweiss, C. I. (2010). The secondary literacy coaching model: Centrality of the standards and emerging paradigms. Journal of Reading Education, 35(3), 39–46. Abstract retrieved from http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/52253087/secondary-literacy-coaching-model-centrality-standards-emerging-paradigms

From the abstract: “Secondary literacy coaching is an initiative aimed at providing effective school-wide literacy leadership and job-embedded professional development for content area teachers, within the context of the Standards for Middle and High School Literacy Coaches (IRA, 2006a). No studies, however, have examined the standards-based literacy coaching model exclusively in high school communities. This study utilizes a survey research design and is the first to analyze existing coaching paradigms of a nationwide sample of high school literacy coaches. The results provide a descriptive view of the standards-based roles of current high school literacy coaches and point the direction for future research.”

Elish-Piper, L., L’Allier, S. K., & Zwart, M. (2008). Literacy coaching: Challenges and promising practices for success. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 37(1), 10–21. Retrieved from http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/37366709/literacy-coaching-challenges-promising-practices-success

From the abstract: “This article describes common challenges to literacy coaching. Among the challenges that literacy coaches face are clarifying and then communicating to others the meaning of the term ‘coaching’ in their buildings or districts, gaining access into classrooms, and the lack of experience in or preparation for working with adults. Promising practices to overcome such challenges are discussed.”

Haug, C. A., & Sands, D. I. (2013). Laboratory approach to secondary teacher professional development: Impacting teacher behavior and student engagement. Cleaning House, 86(6), 197–206. Abstract retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1022971

From the abstract: “The Literacy Lab Professional Development provided a laboratory approach to professional development for 42 high school teachers in two schools. Three main activities included: (1) planning and professional development days, (2) lab and professional development days, and (3) individual coaching. The targets of the Literacy Lab Professional Development and its associated guiding questions focused on student engagement and understanding, teaching students how to make meaning from text, teaching students to write, and the structures, systems, routines, and rituals needed to create a classroom culture of thinking and learning. Results from this study point to positive differences between participating and matched-nonparticipating teachers in their instruction, student grouping, nature of tasks, task demands, types of knowledge expectations, personalization, tone, and authority structures.”

Ippolito, J., Dobbs, C. L., Charner-Laird, M., & Lawrence, J. F. (2016). Delicate layers of learning: Achieving disciplinary literacy requires continuous, collaborative adjustment. Journal of Staff Development, 37(2), 34–38. Abstract retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1100430

From the abstract: “For middle and high school teachers facing the challenge of implementing the Common Core State Standards, disciplinary literacy instruction is a critical element—and one for which many are unprepared. Disciplinary literacy focuses attention on the reading, writing, and communication skills unique to each discipline (Moje, 2008; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Students need to become literate in discipline-specific ways, but most secondary teachers have had little or no explicit training in disciplinary literacy instruction techniques. For the past five years, a team of instructional coaches, university consultants, and professors teaching courses in adolescent literacy, instructional coaching, and teacher leadership—have learned a great deal about the possibilities and pitfalls of supporting middle and high school teachers’ professional learning about disciplinary literacy instruction. This article summarizes some of what the team has learned about the delicate endeavor of working across content areas, across grade levels, and supporting content-area teachers (experts in their respective domains) in tackling the difficult yet rewarding work of enacting disciplinary literacy.”

Strahan, D., Geitner, M., & Lodico, M. (2010). Collaborative professional development toward literacy learning in a high school through Connected Coaching. Teacher Development, 14(4), 519–532. Abstract retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ908595

From the abstract: “This case study documented ways that participants in an urban high school collaborated to develop a Connected Coaching approach to literacy learning in the content areas. Analysis of interviews, observations, and archival documents provided detailed descriptions of ways the literacy coach and teachers worked together to integrate content concepts and literacy strategies. At the high school, the literacy coach served as a catalyst for professional growth. This study examined the progression of collaboration toward instructional improvement across a two-year period. Collaboration with individuals grew to include clusters of colleagues teaching the same subjects, and then to involve grade-level teams. Within these limitations, this study suggests a practical approach for other coaches in similar settings and helps illuminate the dynamics of professional development at the secondary level.”

Wang, S. (2017). “Teacher centered coaching”: An instructional coaching model. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 29(1), 20–39. Abstract retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1136711

From the abstract: “This action research sought to develop an instructional coaching model that would consistently and effectively support teachers in their classroom practices. The model that was studied in this research adapted several components of other coaching models; the specific roles that are assumed by the coach, in particular during the debriefing reflection component, showed a particular impact on developing the instructional practice of teachers. The study analyzed these specific coaching roles, along with the relevant questions for each role, to find that this particular model takes on a teacher-centered approach, prioritizing the teacher by putting them at the center of the process, starting with their reflections and ending with their own action plans for their instructional growth.”

Method

Keywords and Search Strings

The following keywords and search strings were used to search the reference databases and other sources:

(“Coaching”) AND (“high school”) AND (“literacy” OR “reading” OR “writing” OR “English”)

Databases and Resources

We searched ERIC for relevant resources. ERIC is a free online library of over 1.6 million citations of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Additionally, we searched Google Scholar and PsychInfo.

Reference Search and Selection Criteria

When we were searching and reviewing resources, we considered the following criteria:

  • Date of the Publication: References and resources published for the last 15 years, from 2002 to present, were included in the search and review.
  • Search Priorities of Reference Sources: Search priority is given to study reports, briefs, and other documents that are published and/or reviewed by IES and other federal or federally funded organizations and academic databases, including ERIC, EBSCO databases, JSTOR database, PsychInfo, PsychArticle, and Google Scholar.
  • Methodology: Following methodological priorities/considerations were given in the review and selection of the references: (a) study types – randomized controlled trials, quasi-experiments, surveys, descriptive data analyses, literature reviews, policy briefs, etc., generally in this order; (b) target population, samples (representativeness of the target population, sample size, volunteered or randomly selected, etc.), study duration, etc.; and (c) limitations, generalizability of the findings and conclusions, etc.

This memorandum is one in a series of quick-turnaround responses to specific questions posed by educational stakeholders in the West Region (Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah), which is served by the Regional Educational Laboratory West at WestEd. This memorandum was prepared by REL West under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Contract ED-IES-17-C-00014524, administered by WestEd. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.