Developing the Early Childhood Workforce: an Investigation of Instructional Coaching
Lebowitz, Rebecca Blazar
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CitationLebowitz, Rebecca Blazar. 2019. Developing the Early Childhood Workforce: an Investigation of Instructional Coaching. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractInstructional quality in early childhood education is a strong predictor of children’s achievement, but little is known about the mechanisms through which professional development strategies can be successful in influencing teaching quality and student learning. To address these issues, I draw on data from NCRECE’s Professional Development Study to examine the predictive relation between observed teacher characteristics and dosage of an instructional coaching initiative, and then estimate the effect of such dosage on the quality of student-teacher interactions and student literacy performance. Subsequently, I draw upon semi-structured interviews with early childhood practitioners and instructional coaches to document what they understand as the factors affecting their engagement with instructional coaching initiatives.
In my quantitative analyses, I find that teachers with more emotionally responsive pre-intervention interactions with students are likely to experience higher amounts of instructional coaching, but that teachers with higher pre-intervention classroom organization and those working in higher-need settings are likely to experience lower amounts of instructional coaching. I also find moderate statistically significant impacts of instructional coaching dosage on the quality of student-teacher interactions, and small, non-significant impacts of instructional coaching dosage on student literacy performance. In my qualitative analysis, I find that early educators name factors at the individual and organizational levels that influence the extent of their behavioral engagement with instructional coaching. Factors at the individual level include practitioner understanding of the coaching role and initiative, as well as affective factors. At the organizational level, factors include structures, scheduling, and principal support. Teachers report that time, perceived appropriateness and actionability of suggestions, and seeing changes in student performance and/or personal practice influence their likelihood of implementing practices suggested in coaching sessions. In addition, peer enthusiasm for instructional coaching is associated with increased teacher engagement with programming.
Together, these findings contribute to the extant literature regarding effective practices in early childhood professional development by deepening our understanding of the reasons why and ways in which teachers engage with instructional coaching, and the impact that such engagement has on pedagogy and student performance.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42081413