When Teachers Thrive, Students Thrive: Creating the Professional Learning System that Makes the Difference—Part 2.1: Instructional Coaching

January 18, 2024

By: Lee Kappes, Ed.D, Managing Director at the Danielson Group

We can all agree that this time of year is often coupled with reflecting on what the new year’s possibilities might be and how we can act on them. At The Danielson Group we know the complexity of teaching requires continuous reflection. Through ongoing reflection about their practice, teachers are able to identify what their needs are to stay informed, enhance their skills, and further develop their practice, to become ever more effective and grow as leaders in their schools.

Part 1 of this blog series introduced The Danielson Group’s approach to professional learning through the three spheres of influence: Reflective Practice, Instructional Coaching, and Collaborative Inquiry. We shared how the three spheres, when used with purpose and intentionality, can provide the organizing structures to support continuous improvement of student and teacher success. We believe that new learning begins with self-reflection. This month, we shift our focus to how Instructional Coaching supports intentional and purposeful changes to instructional practice and maximizes the possibilities for school improvement and student growth.

Professional-Learning-Systems-INSTRUCTIONAL COACHING HIGHLIGHT_Jan 2024psd

More About Instructional Coaching

Those who have experienced its power recognize that instructional coaching and mentoring are fundamental components of professional growth and development.

When we as teachers seek and act on advice and feedback, we are able to refine our own knowledge and skills, become more adept at reflecting on our own practice, and ultimately are better able to meet the needs of their students. Feedback, whether formal or informal, is essential in understanding and analyzing classroom success and opportunities for improvement. As educators, gaining more experience and expertise through practices such as instructional coaching and collaborative inquiry, helps to uncover additional ways to contribute to the success of colleagues and take on meaningful leadership roles.

Download A New Tool

Now it’s your turn: download the Observation Tool from our Teaching Important Content resource suite in conjunction with the Self-Assessment and Reflection Protocol within your own professional learning community. Below are just a few of the ways this protocol can be used:

  • As an opportunity for an observer to work with individual teachers to reflect on their practice by focusing on one, or all, of these critical components.
  • By grade level and/or department teams, or an entire staff to gauge how teachers are doing and where support might be needed.
  • As a way to gauge teacher growth and progress from a beginning point to an end-point (and along the way), whether it’s the beginning/end of year, or as a readiness indicator at the launch of an inquiry cycle.

Successful teachers approach growth and development with a spirit of curiosity–seeking to learn more about their disciplines as knowledge evolves, refining their skills around student engagement, and learning the newest strategies and technology, among other things. The Danielson Group team is here to collaborate as thought partners and district partners to help every educator take action in support of instructional excellence and growth. Together, we can work towards developing a deeper understanding of the students you and your communities serve.