Perceptions of School Administrators and Early Career Teachers Regarding Questions Used to Prompt Reflection on Practice

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Rinshed, Thomas
Education , Coaching , Mentorship , Reflective practice
Traditional professional development (PD) for teachers has often been offered in a sitand- get format (Toll, 2018). Unfortunately, this model has removed educators from their classrooms while providing teachers with short, non contextualized information delivered through a workshop or class (Russo, 2004). To respond to this issue, the coaching model for PD has become a frequently adopted method in today’s modern classrooms (York-Barr, 2006). In fact, this form of job-embedded PD has often been used to help activate reflective practice among teachers through guiding (reflective) open-ended questions posed by the coach to the coachee. It is still unclear how this coaching model and its reflective questions are perceived by key stakeholders in educational settings. School administrators often assume the role of coach in elementary and secondary school settings (Toll, 2018), especially when coaching early career teachers (ECTs). In this multiple case study, the researcher explored the integration of guiding questions used by school administrators in their coaching strategies while focusing on the perceptions of Ontario’s school administrators and ECTs regarding the use of reflective questions in principal-to-teacher coaching methods. The researcher explored what school administrators and ECTs identify as the benefits to the coaching model of PD, as well as the barriers associated with this coaching model. For this study, a school administrator and ECTs in two schools were interviewed to better understand their perceptions of the model in a comprehensive manner. Data from the interviews were transcribed and analyzed using an inductive coding approach, which revealed common themes. These themes then converged, leading to a clear view of the perspectives of ECTs and school administrators with regards to the coaching model for PD, specifically while using reflective questioning. This research is important to the world of education, as it provides insight into the reflective coaching model for PD that has been adopted by some school administrators in Canada.
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