Studying Teacher Coaching

Towards underpinned scenario's and good teacher coaching practices

Teacher coaching is a concept that has been introduced in the TU/e Bachelor College and has been implemented in the different Departments in various ways. Although the set-up in the departments is different, the goal of teacher coaching is identical: Students learn to reflect on themselves, to assess where they currently stand, and to make decisions about their personal, academic and professional identity and development. In other words, they learn to take control of their own development, concerning their studies, and equally important towards their future professional careers. It is believed that these skills are essential for all students to be able to get the most out of their studies and future career, and ought to have a firm place in any curriculum. In general it comes more naturally to teachers to focus on course content, than to coach on personal development. Therefore it is advisable to support teachers in further developing these coaching skills.

The afore mentioned evaluation shows that both the content goals of implementing teacher coaching have not been reached fully and that the role of the teacher coach is not clear enough for both teachers and students. At the moment, the quality of the coaching is very dependent on the quality of the individual coach. Nevertheless, during an informal meeting, some Program Directors have stated to be enthusiastic about teacher coaching in their faculties. Pilots around coaching have also started: at Mechanical Engineering by using alumni to coach second-year students (2014-2015) and at Computer Science by making students more responsible by letting them choose from three coaching profiles that each asks a different level of commitment (just started). In short, there is a clear need for a different approach when it comes to realising the content goals of coaching, but how can they be reached? What are good practices? How can teacher coaching be arranged in a way that works? This project focuses on two programmes in the BC: Industrial Design and Computer Science. These two programmes can provide a wealth of specific information and input on the research questions and on how to develop new (training) tools for coaching. 

In this project, both programmes will be seen as a case study. If possible, we will gladly take the evaluation results of Technical Engineering into account and expand the range of this project to three case studies. We have created research questions that will be answered separately for both case studies. Then we will draw conclusions on the basis of both case studies. Our research questions are as follows:

  1. How can teacher coaching be described for both studies, in terms of who coaches when, how, to what purpose (content goals and ambitions), why in this way, and what are important preconditions for success?
  2. In what way do teachers and students of both studies experience teacher coaching, in terms of who coaches when, how, to what purpose (content goals and ambitions), why in this way, and what are important preconditions for success?
  3. How do teachers use teacher coaching time now? What good practices do we know?
  4. What is the desired situation for teacher coaching according to teachers and students of both studies?
  5. How can we realise this desired situation?
  6. What scenarios, deduced from question 3, 4 and 5, are possible to arrange teacher coaching?
  7. In what way can we improve support for teachers in their role of teacher coach?

This project has rendered the following output:

  • Clips/vignettes with good practices;

  • Portraits of both studies, including:

A collection of good practices;

Insight in strengths and weaknesses;

A plan for improvement;

Scenarios for arranging teacher coaching, that are possible useful for other studies struggling with teacher coaching.

The output will be converted into a multimedia book(let). In this booklet we will discuss good practices, vignettes, and possibly the scenarios, but also answer the question of what good teacher coaching entails. The latter will provide teacher with tools to improve their own practice as a teacher coach. The booklet will be made available through the CEE’s website. In addition to this, we will set up a proposal, in close consultation with teacher coaches, for a professionalization workshop or training for teacher coaches. 

We have written this booklet for Program Directors, education developers and teachers, who are considering the (further) design and implementation of teacher coaching within their department. Our aim is to give insight into how teacher coaching has been implemented in different ways at two departments of the TU/e, and how including teacher coaching in the curriculum can enrich student development, without large costs in terms of time and money. Then, we present theory to because we think this contains aspects that are important to take into account when designing and implementing teacher coaching. Furthermore, experts shortly interpret the cases we presented from and present to you different strands and scenarios for teacher coaching. Furthermore, we provide a list with questions to be asked when designing teacher coaching. Furthermore, we add links to videos with examples of teachers coaching their students. The main focus of these videos is on how to help students reflect on their development and to make plans for future development.