Exploring what matters

Welcome to the IRIS Connect blog space where you can join conversations and discover free resources, tips and summaries. We hope you find something useful for your professional development and learning.

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guide to improving teacher happiness and wellbeing


What is instructional coaching? Is it the best-proven form of CPD?

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 26 September, 2018

At the recent ResearchEd 18 event in London we learned all about instructional coaching, which is, according to researcher Sam Sims, “probably the best-evidenced form of CPD currently known to mankind”.

The evidence he presented was both convincing and compelling. Looking at randomised-controlled trials of teaching interventions in English (from the US-based Investing in Innovation programme) only seven out of 31 had a statistically significant positive effect, with even worse results for maths (three out of 23).

Of the 15 RCTs Sims found on instructional coaching, however, ten had a statistically significant positive effect.

So what is instructional coaching, how does it work and how can your teachers benefit from it?



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How to build an instructional coaching programme

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 26 September, 2018

As coaching trainer Peter DeWitt said in his blog 3 Reasons Instructional Coaching May Not Be Working, and as the Measures of Effective Teaching Project showed, badly done coaching can actually harm teachers’ performance.

Despite educators’ best efforts, the majority of initiatives in schools today fail. Some estimates show failure rates as high as 70%. The main reason for this is poor implementation. Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough when it comes to driving and sustaining growth.

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How to give teachers effective coaching feedback

Posted by Kate Herbert-Smith on 12 June, 2018

Feedback is an important and necessary part of any teacher’s career path. Whether they’re in their first, fifth or fifteenth year of teaching, feedback from senior leaders, peers and reviews is critical to identifying performance weaknesses and strengths, providing teachers with opportunities to grow and develop their practice. What’s more, it often improves communication and better understanding of expectations.  

But there is a world of difference between just giving someone feedback and giving them effective feedback.

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5 powerful coaching tools for teachers

Posted by Jennifer Hampton on 31 January, 2017

Coaching in education is more than just questioning. I’ve attended many courses focused on increasing the effectiveness of coaching in schools. Here are 5 tools you can use to make coaching sessions as powerful as possible, for both coach and coachee.

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Innovations in professional development: real-time in-ear coaching

Posted by Graham Newell on 25 January, 2017

Executive summary of research by MirandaNet and De Montfort University

Results from a research study indicate that regular use of a web-based video CPD system had a profound impact upon confidence, collaboration, risk taking and professional learning for teachers. 

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Live remote coaching found to be transformative for teachers

Posted by Rosie Neill on 14 September, 2016

High rates of attrition among early career teachers could indicate that practice in the classroom is challenging, overall workload is excessive and that current professional development models are not meeting their needs (Guardian, 2013).

The MirandaNet Fellowship has undertaken research to investigate whether using video technology to coach teachers in a positive, reflective and learning culture can enhance teacher practice and help reduce attrition rates.

The findings of their research have been published in a new report this week.

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