Improving coaching: evolution not revolution

Rachel Lofthouse

David Leat

Carl Towler

Elaine Hall

Colleen Cummings

This report is based on collaborative research with thirteen schools in four regions of England

The project had two related aims: to observe and analyse a range of current coaching practice and to develop the means to enhance that practice. Much educational research is about teaching and learning, but the teachers, school leaders and students are the subjects of study. Once research outcomes are produced various means are used to disseminate the results in the pursuit of impact. Unfortunately the relationship between research and practice is uncertain and it is often difficult to find mechanisms which secure the translation from the former to the latter.

Inevitably this research has not been able to free itself completely from such shackles. However where possible we have worked closely with teachers from the start of the project to ensure that the outcomes will be of direct benefit to practice. We have taken results and ideas back to the project teachers repeatedly during the project lifetime for evaluation and validation and we have used ideas and methods that have promise in informing thinking and action. We have given thought to how research outcomes can be represented so that the ideas underpinning can be internalised and we have heavily promoted the use of filming of lessons to promote analysis in coaching. Most importantly we have strived to provide a language and visual representations through which teachers can analyse and plan their coaching practice.