Over the last few years instructional coaching has gained popularity in a huge number of schools. What started as an approach to support early career teachers has quickly become an offer for all members of staff, with an acknowledgement that all teachers have both the entitlement and responsibility to continuously improve their practice.
The general approach to coaching is now pretty well known, at least in theory: every week or two a coach drops into a teacher’s lesson for around 15 minutes, they then give the teacher an ‘action step’, and finally they practise together how they will implement this new approach.
The action step at the centre of this approach really is the nexus of instructional coaching. It describes what a teacher should do differently to improve their teaching and secure better outcomes for their pupils. And yet, it’s devilishly difficult to get right. In my experience, the most common reason for instructional coaching failing is a poor action step.
So, how can coaches identify, frame and articulate a great action step for teachers?