Affiliation: School of Education, Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Program
Educational leaders often search for professional development opportunities that are within the context of the classroom where new research-based instructional practices can be observed and incorporated into the teachers’ practices. Instructional coaching and co-teaching have been recognized as means for accomplishing this, while at the same time increasing collaboration between educators and improving student learning. Very little research has been done on where these two concepts intersect, especially as it is implemented in elementary math classrooms. Using a socio-cultural lens and the Lave and Wenger (1991) LPP (Legitimate Peripheral Participation) framework, the co-teaching relationship that is developed over time between instructional coaches and classroom teachers affect the experiences that result from co-teaching for both of them as they observe one another and interact within the environment. In this holistic multiple case study of five elementary schools in a rural school district, the cross-case analysis indicated that co-teaching facilitated: (1) collaboration between the educators to impact student achievement, (2) learning experiences for the instructional coaches and the teachers, and (3) an impact on student learning. Although partnerships grew and strengthened with more trust between the instructional coaches and the classroom teachers, the primary issues included: (1) a lack of planning time, (2) concerns over the co-teaching schedule, and (3) the logistics of making co-teaching work in the classroom. Issues were broadly resolved through communication, collaboration, and cooperation between the instructional coaches and the teachers who co-taught with them.