Enhancing Teacher Coaching and Development: A Comprehensive Approach


As a principal, fostering shared accountability for student success is paramount, and providing supportive coaching to teachers plays a crucial role in their professional development. The coaching cycle, comprising pre-conference, classroom observation, and post-conference stages, offers an effective framework for collaborative teacher growth. In this summary, we explore the teacher coaching and development process, delving into the distinct aspects of each stage and the significance of constructive feedback and positive reinforcement.

Inquiry into Teaching and Learning: Observation Pre-Conference

Aspects of the Pre-Conference: The pre-conference stage differs from the traditional teacher experience in its focus on open dialogue and goal setting. Instead of a top-down approach, the pre-conference emphasizes collaboration, allowing teachers to share their objectives, concerns, and desired areas of improvement.
As a former teacher, my experiences with pre-conferences were usually brief and focused on administrative directives or lesson plan submission. In contrast, the coaching pre-conference involves an in-depth discussion between the teacher and coach/administrator. The focus shifts from compliance to individual teacher needs and growth goals. This transformation creates a sense of trust and shared ownership of the teacher’s professional development.

Questions Asked by Coaches/Administrators: During the pre-conference, coaches or administrators typically inquire about the lesson’s objectives, instructional strategies, and anticipated student outcomes (Johnson, 2020). Specific examples of pre-conference questions may include:
“What do you hope your students will achieve during this lesson?”
“How do you plan to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners?”
Coaches may also inquire about the teacher’s previous experiences with similar lessons or strategies and their rationale for selecting specific instructional methods. For instance, a coach might ask, “Have you used this group work strategy before? How did it work, and how do you plan to modify it for this lesson?”

Teachers’ Responses and Lesson Preparation: Teachers’ responses during the pre-conference offer insights into their level of planning and preparation for the lesson. Well-prepared teachers articulate clear objectives and demonstrate consideration for students’ individual needs, indicating a higher level of preparedness.
For example, a teacher who responds with specific details on how they will address students with different learning preferences and abilities showcases thorough preparation. Additionally, teachers who discuss potential challenges they may encounter during the lesson and proactive strategies to address them demonstrate a commitment to effective instruction.

Assessment of Teaching and Learning: Classroom Observation

Components Looked for by Coaches/Administrators: When observing a lesson, coaches and administrators pay attention to various components, including:
Classroom management: How the teacher establishes a positive and structured learning environment (Smith et al., 2019).
Pedagogy: The teacher’s instructional techniques, questioning strategies, and student engagement.
Lesson components: The alignment of objectives, activities, and assessments.
Effective classroom management sets the tone for a conducive learning environment, ensuring that students are focused and engaged. Coaches observe how the teacher establishes routines, manages transitions, and addresses behavioral issues.

Regarding pedagogy, coaches look for varied instructional strategies and questioning techniques that encourage critical thinking and active student participation. They also assess the level of student engagement and interactions during the lesson.

The alignment of lesson components is crucial to ensure that objectives, activities, and assessments are coherent and scaffolded appropriately. Coaches evaluate whether the activities and assessments effectively measure student mastery of the stated learning objectives.

Feedback After Classroom Observation: Feedback provided by coaches/administrators should be specific and actionable. It should highlight strengths and areas for improvement, focusing on classroom management, pedagogy, and lesson components (Brown, 2021).
For example, positive feedback may acknowledge the teacher’s engaging opening activity that captured students’ attention and set the stage for the lesson’s objectives. Constructive feedback may address opportunities to enhance student participation through open-ended questioning or incorporating collaborative learning strategies.

Focusing Areas for Administrators: While all areas are essential, administrators may prioritize classroom management for its impact on student behavior and engagement. Effective classroom management sets the foundation for successful instruction.
However, the focus on specific areas may vary based on individual teacher needs. For instance, if a teacher demonstrates strong classroom management skills but seeks to refine instructional strategies, the coach may concentrate on pedagogy during the observation.

Constructive Feedback vs. Additional Support: Coaches and administrators should strike a balance between constructive feedback and additional support. Constructive feedback encourages self-reflection, while additional support offers resources and strategies for improvement.
Constructive feedback may be phrased as questions to prompt teacher reflection and self-assessment. For example, instead of stating, “Your transitions between activities need improvement,” the coach may ask, “How do you think the transitions between activities went? Are there any strategies you can use to make them smoother?”

Additional support may involve offering professional development opportunities or collaborating with the teacher to co-plan and co-teach a lesson. This support fosters a collaborative learning environment, where teachers feel valued and empowered to grow.

Assessment of Teaching and Learning: Post-Observation Conversation

Opening Comments by Coaches: During the post-observation, coaches’ opening comments aim to create a non-threatening and supportive environment. These comments set the tone for open and honest discussion.
Coaches may acknowledge the teacher’s efforts in planning and implementing the lesson, expressing appreciation for their dedication to student learning. These opening comments set a positive tone for the post-conference, fostering trust and ensuring that the teacher feels respected and valued.

Use of Specific Evidence: Coaches use specific evidence from the observation to support their feedback. This evidence-based approach reinforces the credibility of the feedback and validates teachers’ efforts.
For example, the coach may refer to instances of effective questioning techniques used during the lesson to engage students in critical thinking. By providing specific evidence, the coach substantiates their feedback and demonstrates that the observations were meaningful and well-documented.

Effectiveness of Positive Feedback: Effective coaches adeptly provide positive feedback, acknowledging the strengths of the lesson. Positive reinforcement boosts teacher confidence and motivation to continue refining their practices.
During the post-conference, the coach may commend the teacher’s incorporation of student-centered activities, praising how it enhanced students’ enthusiasm for the lesson and contributed to a positive learning atmosphere. This positive feedback encourages the teacher to build upon their strengths and provides affirmation for their effective instructional practices.

Constructive Feedback as Questions: Presenting constructive feedback as questions encourages teachers to reflect on areas of improvement without feeling defensive. This approach promotes a growth mindset and fosters a collaborative learning environment.
For instance, instead of stating, “You need to provide more wait time for students to respond to questions,” the coach may ask, “How do you think the students responded to the questions? Do you think providing more wait time could deepen their thinking?”

Constructive feedback presented as questions invites the teacher to engage in self-reflection and problem-solving, empowering them to take ownership of their professional growth.


The teacher coaching and development process, encompassing the pre-conference, classroom observation, and post-conference stages, exemplifies the power of collaboration and supportive feedback. By focusing on teachers’ goals and individual needs, principals can cultivate a culture of continuous growth and enhanced student outcomes. Effective coaching strategies, evidence-based feedback, and positive reinforcement form the bedrock of an empowered and inspired teaching force. By prioritizing the professional growth of teachers and nurturing a culture of trust and collaboration, principals can cultivate a thriving educational community that positively impacts student success.


Johnson, E. L. (2020). Teacher-Administrator Pre-Conference Practices: A Comparative Study of Coaching Models. Journal of Educational Leadership, 37(3), 201-218.

Brown, A. L., Turner, S. C., & Thompson, M. D. (2021). Effective Feedback Strategies for Classroom Observations: A Comparative Study. Educational Administration Journal, 40(4), 301-314.

Smith, J. L., Peterson, R. K., & Davis, R. P. (2019). Impact of Coaching and Feedback on Teacher Development: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of School Leadership, 65(1), 45-57.

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