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29 Direct-Supervision-PEER-COACHING

Name of Reporter
Date of Report
: Evangeline R. Beridico
: Master of Arts in Education
Major in Administration and Supervision
: Direct Assistance to Teachers-PEER COACHING
: Judith Bayos Maigue, Ed.D.
: November 14, 2021
It is a confidential process through which two or more colleagues work together to reflect on current
practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or
solve problems in the workplace
With the advent of extended responsibilities for career-ladder teachers, mentor teachers, master teachers,
grade-level chairpersons, team leaders and department heads, the time and resources for peer assistance have
increased (see the theme issues of Educational Leadership, 1987a, 1987b; and Journal of Staff Development,
1987). Keedy (1987) recommended that principals and supervisors provide instructional leadership through the
coordination of instructional specialists, rather than by attempting on their own to provide direct assistance to all
teachers in the school.
If teachers become proficient in observation skills and the format of clinical supervision, the supervisor
can take on the role of clarifier, trainer, scheduler and trouble-shooter. Clarifier by determining the purpose;
trainer by preparing the teachers for the task; scheduler by forming teams or trios of teachers who take
responsibility for pre-conferencing, observing and post-conferencing with each other; and trouble-shooter by
consulting with teams of teachers who are experiencing difficulties and with individual teachers who need more
specialized attention.
The use of teachers helping teachers through clinical supervision has been labelled peer supervision or
peer coaching.
Before beginning a peer-coaching program, clarity of purpose and goals are necessary (Garmston, 1987;
Barbknecht and Kieffer, 2001).
First, is it really a question of peer assistance (reciprocal interactions of equals) or is it a matter of
hierarchical, one way assistance (a better trained or more experienced teacher helping less well-trained or less
experienced teachers)?
Second, in a peer program, who is to be the recipient of assistance? Should a teacher who is the observer
take from the observation some ideas to use, or should the teacher who is the observed take from the observation
some actions to use?
Third, will the observation and feedback focus on common instructional skills that each teacher is
attempting to learn and implement, or will the observations and feedback focus on the teacher’s own idiosyncratic
concern with his or her teaching?
Fourth, should the observations and feedback focus on the teacher’s teaching or on individual students’
behaviors? Fifth, is the goal of coaching to be greater awareness and more reflective decision making, or is it to
implement particular teaching skills?
Ultimately, how does the coaching goal fit into the larger school goal of improving instruction for
These are not meaningless questions. A peer-coaching program invalid of articulated definition and
purpose has no controls for steering and selecting the training, scheduling and troubleshooting essential for
success. Instead, it becomes another fad, exciting in that it’s on the “cutting edge” of school change, but lacking
substance in terms of what is to be accomplished.
Therefore, the first step is to meet with teachers to discuss how a proposed peer-coaching program would
fit into a school’s or district’s instructional goals and then to decide on the specific purposes of the program.
1. Understanding the purpose and procedures of peer coaching.
2. Conducting a pre-conference for determining the focus of observations.
3. Conducting and analyzing an observation to distinguish between observing and interpreting classroom
4. Conducting two (2) post-conferences with different approaches for developing action plans, one using a
nondirective approach, the other one using a collaborative approach.
A standard form for writing instructional improvement plans in the post-conference should be reviewed.
The form should be simple and easy to fill out. Each peer member should understand that a completed plan is the
object of the first four clinical steps and the basis for beginning the next round of supervision.
Training sessions of about six hours should provide the minimum knowledge and skills to begin peer
coaching. After peer have gained some familiarity with the process through demonstrations, modelling and
practice in the workshop setting, they will be anxious but ready to begin a coaching cycle. For the initial attempts,
perfection is not expected. After the first cycle of implementation, a follow-up meeting should be held to discuss
what has occurred and what revisions need to be made before beginning the second cycle.
For the first year, it is recommended that at least four cycles be conducted- two times being the coach and two
times being coached. Toward the end of the year, a culminating meeting should be held to summarize the
advantages and disadvantages of using peer coaching and to make a recommendation on whether to continue the
program for the following year.
A teacher will have a more difficult time becoming enthusiastic about a project if it means increasing the
amount of personal time and energy expended beyond an already full day. Because peer coaching will require
additional time, the program should be voluntary, at least in the beginning. Greater participation of teachers is
likely if the supervisor can schedule time for peer coaching during the school day.
For example, placing teachers together in teams that share the same planning or lunch periods would allow
for pre and post-conferences during the schoolday. Hiring a few substitutes for two days. Twice a year, would
allow teachers to be relieved of class duties so that they can observe their peers. One substitute could relieve six
classroom teachers for one period at a time.
Another way of freeing time for peer observations is for teachers to release each other by periodically
scheduling a video, lecture or some other large group instruction so that two classes can be taught by one teacher.
Whatever the actual schedule used to release teachers for peer coaching, preplanning by supervisor and teachers
is needed to ensure that teachers can participate without extreme personal sacrifice.
Generally, teachers should be grouped with each other so that they are comfortable together but not
necessarily at identical levels of experience and/or competence. It may be useful to put experienced teachers with
new ones, superior teachers with adequate ones, or adequate teachers with struggling ones.
The third component of establishing a peer-coaching program is the close monitoring of peer progress.
The supervisor should be available to peer teams as a resource person. For example, what happens when the
preconference concludes with an agreement to observe a teacher’s verbal interaction in the classroom, and the
peer coach is at a loss about where to find such an observation Instrument? The training program should answer
such questions, but orientation meetings cannot cover all possible needs. The supervisor must therefore the needs
of peer teams and be able to step in to help.
Since the supervisor can attend to purpose, training, scheduling and troubleshooting, a peer-coaching
supervision program can be implemented. The initial implementation of such a program undoubtedly will create
more work for the supervisor. However, the initial work is less than would be necessary for providing clinical
supervision to every teacher two or three times a year. If it is important enough to supervisor and staff, the time
spent at the start in preparing for the program will pay off with ongoing instructional improvement of teachers.
● Demonstration teaching - The supervisor or expert peer can be a guest teacher, demonstrating a
new teaching model or method for the teacher requesting assistance. Alternatively, the teacher
seeking to learn new skills can visit an expert peer’s classroom for a demonstration lesson.
● Co-teaching - The supervisor or expert peer and the teacher seeking assistance together can plan,
teach and evaluate a lesson. Co-teaching establishes trust and rapport and fosters the collegiality,
dialogue and mutual reflection that foster teacher growth.
● Assistance with resources and materials – All of us in education are aware of teachers who
make little or no use of particular instructional resources and materials (from manipulative to
technology) because of a lack of awareness or expertise. Many teachers would benefit greatly from
the effective use of such resources and materials, but they need individualized assistance for
technical mastery and adaptation to teaching content and students.
● Assistance with student assessment – There is a clear trend within the educational reform
movement toward alternative forms of student assessment, especially authentic assessment
(Clark and Clark, 2000; Coladarci, 2002; Stiggins, 2002). In the coming years, teachers will likely need
considerable direct assistance from supervisors in developing criteria and skills for assessing such
things as student portfolios, “real-world” performances and integrative projects.
● Problem solving – Teachers experience a variety of professional problems that can be
solved in one-to-one conferences and without classroom observation. Once a relationship
of openness, trust and rapport has been established, a supervisor can assist a teacher
through a problem-solving process involving:
1. Identification of the problem.
2. Generation and weighing of alternative actions.
3. Selection of the most appropriate actions.
4. Planning follow-up to access the results of chosen actions.
● Mentoring – In schools, mentoring typically is a direct assistance provided by an experienced
teacher to a beginning teacher. The mentor might provide any of the forms of direct assistance
such as expert coaching, demonstration teaching, co-teaching and so on. The heart of mentoring,
however goes beyond any specific form of direct assistance to the ongoing relationship of mentor
and beginner.
The formal supervisor has a significant role to play in mentoring programs, helping to select
and prepare mentors, assisting with the matching of mentors with beginners and providing ongoing
support for mentors.