Case Study: Value-Added Benefit of Distance-Based Instructional Coaching on Science Teachers’ Inquiry Instruction in Rural Schools

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Journal of Science Teacher Education






One major implication of the Next Generation Science Standards is the need to integrate inquiry and practice and incorporate engineering into science education. To support teachers’ change efforts in a time of heightened science, technology, engineering, and mathematics standards for all students, effective professional development (PD) is critical. However, rural schools face significant challenges in accessing PD. Distance-based instructional coaching (DBIC) has emerged as a potential solution for implementing highly interactive, sustainable models of teacher support in rural areas. The present study was conducted within a larger study that examined the efficacy of a summer PD with follow-up DBIC on rural teachers’ knowledge, self-efficacy, and classroom practice of a guided science inquiry instructional approach. This study drew on empirical data using an in-depth analysis of a single case with a rural middle school science teacher, “Kara,” whose unique teaching schedule allowed for an examination of changes in her science inquiry instructional practice. In the present study, Vygotsky space provided insight into the process of the teacher’s learning as appropriation, transformation, and publication through the events observed. Showing the impact of DBIC on teacher PD and for facilitating improved student outcomes, this study has potential implications for educational policy, pedagogical practice, and meeting nationwide educational standards. In addition, DBIC maintains the integrity of the coaching model while simultaneously enhancing the feasibility of coaching for rural or remote educational systems and schools.


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