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Proposing a proximal principle between peer coaching and staff development as a driver for transformation

L Browne International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring 2006

This article reports on evaluation research undertaken in the United Kingdom on behalf of a consortium of leading edge educational providers engaged in delivering one strand of a Teaching and Learning National Transformation Programme for the Learning and Skills sector. The transformational programme is best described as having three enablers namely teaching and learning materials to support practitioners, network meetings and a professional training programme for nominated subject learning coaches. The main focus here is on the latter of the three enablers, although issues of material design and network facilitation well impact on the research outcomes and thus cannot be completely ignored. The aim of the Subject Learning Coaches’ Professional Training Programme provides training in coaching alongside the opportunity for accreditation for those wanting to complete a number of set assignments. Drawing on evidence from a number of sources, namely questionnaire data, interviews, and content analysis of the work produced by participants, the research uses an adaptation of the Logic Model (Kellogg, 2004) to evaluate impact. The research was carried out at an early stage of programme delivery so measurements of impact need to be viewed in this light. The article explains the context for change, focuses on the theoretical debate underpinning subject coaching, and identifies some initial findings in relation to programme impact worthy of sharing with the research community. Initial evidence indicates that where there is individual and organisational commitment then the impact is perceived to be considerable. This impact not only relates to changes observed in staff it relates to impact which has permeated beyond those engaged in the professional development programme to reach learners, other staff in the organisation and in some cases whole institutions. The use of Peer Coaching as a model for change is proposed as one of the key drivers to inspire and motivate lecturers in this sector.

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