Evolution of Covert Coaching as an Evidence-Based Practice in Professional Development and Preparation of Teachers

Evolution of Covert Coaching as an Evidence-Based Practice in Professional Development and Preparation of Teachers

Kathleen M. Randolph, Michael P. Brady
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2838-8.ch013
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There is a tradition of coaching in many fields that prepares and improves performance among professionals. Coaching practices evolved over time, with several technological applications developed to improve the coaching process. An application gaining attention as an evidence-based practice is the use of wireless communication systems in which coaching statements are delivered to individuals while they engage in work. In education this has been called Bug-in-Ear coaching or Covert Audio Coaching, and has demonstrated its efficacy as a coaching intervention with teachers, families, and individuals with developmental disabilities. In this chapter the evolution of coaching across disciplines is summarized and specific applications that hold promise as an evidence-based practice for the professional development and preparation of teachers are described. This chapter summarizes 22 studies which support covert coaching as an evidence-based practice. Covert coaching enables immediate feedback without interrupting the participants, and provides opportunities for immediate error correction.
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Research On Coaching And Feedback

Feedback on employee performance is important for both supervisors and employees. Employment coaching has been used in the private and public employment sectors to provide feedback to employees (e.g., Crowell, Anderson, Abel & Sergio, 1988). Many of the origins of employment coaching can be traced to organizational behavior management, a term that has been used to describe an application of behavioral principles including the simultaneous coaching that occurs in various places of employment (Crowell et al., 1988). Feedback and coaching have been used traditionally in employment settings between supervisors and their “subordinate” employees, with feedback delivered after the supervisor has observed the employee or conferred with other management. The purpose of coaching and feedback in the employment sector typically is to develop an employee’s skills, provide suggestions to improve or recognize exemplary work, or modify certain workplace practices.

Cunningham and Austin (2007) provide an example of an organizational behavior management practice involving workplace coaching. To reduce injury to hospital staff in an operating room, Cunningham and Austin sought to improve safety practices with direct observation and feedback. Focusing on injuries caused by sharp needles, the researchers set the goal to reduce needle exposure and injury, and to reinforce the “hands-free technique.” The study incorporated various coaching practices, and increased safety behavior during inpatient and outpatient procedures in the operating room during treatment, and in outpatient operating rooms during a maintenance condition.

The use of feedback and coaching in employment settings has not been limited to “subordinate” employees. A study by Green, Rollyson, Passante, and Reid (2002) provides an example. Supervisors in a living facility for adults with severe disabilities were coached to improve their supervisory performance by their human service agency administrators. The typical supervision process was enhanced with an alternative management approach that involved direct feedback based on actual observation in the various living facilities. All of the supervisors were trained to use task analysis, reverse fading, prompting, correction, and reinforcement. Compared to traditional management approaches, the use of observation, direct feedback, and coaching was invaluable in developing more effective supervisors.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Immediate Feedback: Feedback provided to an individual about a targeted behavior during or immediately after the specific act.

Preservice Teachers: Adult students enrolled in teacher preparations programs, also referred to as student teachers, teachers-in-training, or intern teachers.

Professional Development: Training, coaching, and support provided to inservice teachers.

Bug-in-Ear (BIE): Device with microphone used to deliver coaching comments delivered by a coach directly to a participant wearing a receiver; the BIE is the equipment used to deliver audio messages.

iCoaching: The use of Apple© products (such as iPods) connected to an earpiece enabling a participant to receive coaching comments from a researcher/coach who has a direct connection to the participant’s earpiece.

iPod: A small, portable handheld electronic device with a touch screen that can be used to take pictures and video, email, play digital media, and make calls using wireless internet connection to another device on the Apple platform.

Employment Coaching: Coaching and feedback provided for the purpose of developing an employee’s skills; providing suggestions to improve or recognize exemplary work, or modifying certain workplace practices.

FaceTime: An application used to make audio or video calls to other people using both the wireless internet connection and an Apple product (iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, iPhone).

Inservice Teachers: Teachers currently employed in a K-12 school setting.

Covert Audio Coaching (CAC): Method of delivery of unobtrusive coaching comments and feedback from a coach to participant using a BIE device from a distance; uses one person (e.g., a coach) to provide guidance or feedback statements, prompts, praise, or corrections using various forms of BIE technology.

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