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Title:"I can only cognitively coach so much": heavy coaching efforts amidst disciplinary complexities in secondary school classrooms
Author(s):Wilder, Phillip
Director of Research:Dressman, Mark A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Monda-Amaya, Lisa
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dressman, Mark A.; Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.; McCarthey, Sarah J.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Instructional Coaching
Secondary Schools
Heavy Coaching
Disciplinary Knowledge
Case Studies
Coaching Tensions
Coaching Practices
Abstract:Coaching often rests upon a “causal cascade” (Atteberry, Bryk, Walker & Biancarosa,2008) that posits that collaboration with a coach leads to a change in the attitude, beliefs and practices of teachers and therefore improves student learning. If efficacy expectations related to adolescent literacy are not met, instructional coaching runs the risk of being attempted and abandoned by secondary schools (Knight, 2007; Walpole & McKenna, 2008). Insufficient research has explored how secondary coaches attempt to impact adolescent literacy and the ways that instructional coaches use discourse to negotiate disciplinary tensions.The author explored how three secondary school instructional coaches each attempted to “coach heavy” (Killion, 2009, 2010) and impact the disciplinary literacy and learning of adolescents during a single, long-term collaboration over the course of a semester. The following three research questions guided this interpretive study: How do secondary instructional coaches attempt to coach heavy? What tensions make heavy coaching challenging? And, what coaching practices do secondary instructional coaches use to negotiate these tensions? Using a multi-case study design (Merriam, 1998), qualitative data were collected during semi-structured initial and exit interviews with each participating teacher and instructional coach. Over the course of these long-term collaborations, additional data included field notes of classroom coaching events, audio-taped debriefs between coach and teacher, and audio-taped debriefs between the coach and researcher. Data were examined via an analytical frame of heavy coaching (Killion, 2009, 2010), knowledge of practice (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999), and stance taking (Du’Bois, 2007; Poggi, D’Errico, & Leone, 2010) in order to understand the challenges of coaching for impact in these three disciplinary contexts. While all three coaches in this study attempted to coach heavy for student impact, tensions within each unique collaborative context made heavy coaching challenging. Using an inquiry as coaching stance, each coach created situated coaching practices that reflected their own disciplinary knowledge. While acknowledging the expertise of all three instructional coaches in this study, this dissertation raises questions about the suitability of using instructional coaches as generalists across secondary school disciplines given the complexity of heavy coaching as a disciplinary outsider.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Phillip Wilder
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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