Instructional coaching : a K-12 professional development model to support implementation of culturally responsive teaching
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Changing student demographics in the state of Texas as well as across the nation make it imperative for educators in K-12 public school settings to develop instructional strategies to meet the needs of increasingly diverse students in multicultural classrooms. To develop greater understandings of this complex issue, culturally responsive teaching was considered through the lens of the instructional coaching professional development model. For purposes of this research study, the culturally responsive/relevant theoretical frameworks of Geneva Gay (2000, 2001, 2004), Ana Maria Villegas & Tamara Lucas (2002), and Gloria Ladson-Billings (1994, 1995) were foundational. Instructional coaching is a job-embedded professional development model for teachers which is gaining increasing attention in K-12 educational settings (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005; Kise, 2006; Knight, 2007; Lindsey, Martinez, Lindsey, 2007; Showers, 1984; West & Staub, 2003). Proponents of instructional coaching suggest that coaching is a way to support the reflective practice of educators through a coaching cycle of planning, observation, and reflection. Lindsey, Martinez & Lindsey (2007) further propose a culturally proficient coaching model focused on teachers being responsive to diverse populations of students, and they assert that “coaching and cultural proficiency are integrated sets of tools for guiding individuals and groups to meet cross-cultural issues as opportunities and assets rather than as challenges and deficits” (p. 4). To implement culturally responsive teaching in multicultural classrooms, teachers must develop many skills including the ability to analyze the curriculum-in-use and the ability to implement instructional practices that are efficacious in diverse cultural settings. To support this work, it is further essential that teachers examine their own beliefs and values regarding cultural diversity to enhance their ability to meet the needs of increasingly diverse students. There is strong evidence (Payne & Allen, 2006; Neufeld & Roper, 2003) that instructional coaching contributes to improved teaching and student learning, however, it should be noted that instructional coaching must also be accompanied by rigorous curriculum, on-going formative assessment and feedback for students, strategic planning, and strong local, state and national leadership if educators are to eliminate existing gaps in opportunities to learn between White students and students of color.