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Using Instructional Coaching to Build Literacy Practice

The Effects and Impacts of Instructional Coaching




Often as educators, you might find yourself…


From a classroom teacher’s perspective:

  • not feeling confident in a particular area of your practice

  • trying one thing, and then chopping and changing too often

  • you’ve analysed student literacy data and you can see a gap in the learning and need to know how to be able to teach what’s missing


From a school leader’s perspective:

  • seeing the trends in literacy data (dipping or plateauing) 

  • observing that your top students need more targeted differentiation in their lessons

  • realising that the consistency is lacking from teacher to teacher and between year levels



There are many ways to build literacy practice and to strengthen the capacity of teachers in order to impact student learning and engagement:


  • Workshops and seminars

  • Professional Learning days and school closure PL

  • Online Learning

  • Peer Observations

  • Network Clusters

  • Planning meetings

  • In-school workshops

  • Collaborating with teams and leaders



All types of professional learning will build teacher capacity and strengthen practice, but what’s most effective and has the highest longevity is coaching, instructional coaching. 




When I was in the classroom, I had the privilege of working with a consultant from Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools which used to be known as Catholic Education Melbourne. I was involved in a project in which Year 3- 6 teachers were assigned a consultant for one hour a week, during the literacy block to improve teacher literacy practice and build teacher capacity. At the time, I was in my second year of teaching Year 6. Karen was my coach, but she’s not the Karen you’re thinking of! You can learn more about my experience and Karen’s influence on my career here.


Karen was actually an Instructional Coach. “Working one-to-one with a teacher, to model and observe classroom practice and to support reflection and professional conversation about practice,” according to AITSL. By definition, an Instructional Coach partners with teachers to help them improve teaching and learning so students are more successful. To do this, coaches collaborate with teachers to get a clear picture of current reality, identify goals, pick teaching strategies to meet the goals, monitor progress, and problem solve until the goals are met (Instructional Coaching Group).



More recently, the teachers I’ve collaborated with in an instructional coaching capacity have seen transformations in their own literacy practice and that of student literacy achievement, growth and outcomes.





























We’ve used the GROWTH coaching model (Growth Coaching International) and The Impact Cycle (The Instructional Coaching Group, Jim Knight) to facilitate these discussions and gain clarity around the direction and impact on student learning and engagement. 


We've also used a thinking routine, which I created to support reflection and direction. This was inspired by the work of Lyn Sharratt who advocates for clarity, shared beliefs and understandings, and why we do what we do- PURPOSE.






To learn more about the impact of instructional coaching on your literacy practice or on your teachers’ literacy practice, let’s collaborate to find out how I can offer support.

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