Practice-Based Coaching

Researchers at the Anita Zucker Center have been studying professional development for more than 25 years to develop the best strategies for teachers and caregivers. Practice-based coaching (PBC) has shown great promise in a series of studies conducted in partnerships across the United States.

Beginning with work conducted by Patricia Snyder, director, and her colleagues in 2007, center researchers and leaders have developed, implemented and evaluated practice-based coaching (PBC) in efforts to bridge the gap between learning and application.

“We know that families and teachers are busy. So, to help them to identify maybe one or two high-leverage practices that they can focus their attention on helps them to feel more successful.”

 

Darbianne Shannon, Ph.D. 

Assistant Research Scientist
Center Member

About Practice-Based Coaching

You have just wrapped up another workshop where you received great information on how to create meaningful learning experiences for young children. However, in the bustle of returning to your practice context, you find it challenging to put your new knowledge into action.

This is an ideal opportunity for coaching to bridge the gap between what you know about meaningful learning experiences and what you can do to make them a part of your daily practice.

Beginning with work conducted by Patricia Snyder, director, and her colleagues in 2007, center researchers and leaders have developed, implemented and evaluated pracice-based coaching in efforts to bridge the gap between learning and application.

PBC has become a local, state, national and international coaching model. Similar to other forms of coaching, PBC is designed to support teachers and families to implement effective practices to support young children’s development and learning. What sets PBC apart from other coaching models is an emphasis on supporting practice implementation and its empirical foundation. Several of our research projects have shown PBC can have positive and lasting effects on teachers’ and families’ use of evidence-based practices and outcomes for young children.

How it works

PBC is a cyclical 3-step process: informing, engaging and facilitating. All steps occur within a collaborative partnership where both the coach and the teacher or family member are contributing knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

The first step involves gathering information about a teacher’s or family member’s strengths and needs related to the practices that are the focus of coaching; this information is used to develop a shared goal and action plan. 

The second step of the PBC process involves engaging in focused observation as teachers or family members implement the practices they selected as their goal. 

The third step of the process involves facilitating reflection and providing feedback to teachers or families about their implementation of practices that are aligned with their goal and action plan. Typically, these discussions focus on the teacher’s or family member’s confidence and competence about the practice(s) that are the focus of coaching with the coach providing both supportive and constructive feedback about practice implementation. Once an action plan cycle of PBC is completed, a new action plan cycle focused on a different practice or goal begins.

Our research within the Center has demonstrated that when teachers receive support to implement evidence-based practices through PBC, young children make progress in their development and learning.