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See Me, Hear Me, Coach Me

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Journal of Staff Development Volume 30, Number 3, ISSN 0276-928X


Although the idea of educational coaching is not new, the way teachers-in-training across six west Alabama counties are receiving job-embedded support is far from routine. Educational consultants 764 miles away are pioneering the use of virtual coaching for professional development. From their offices at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, consultants use online and mobile technology to coach special education teachers and paraeducators in four outlying public school districts. In the most effective coaching and supervision paradigms, feedback to teachers is immediate (Scheeler, McAfee, & Ruhl, 2004). However, many coaches do not achieve immediacy in the traditional plan-observe-conference cycle used by many. Bug-in-ear technology is a proven method for improving the professional practice of frontline practitioners. Consisting mainly of a portable two-way radio with earpiece and microphone, bug-in-ear devices allow coaches or supervisors to give teachers immediate feedback while they are delivering instruction in their classrooms. While the Pennsylvania project has just begun, the authors have analyzed and reported data on 15 practicing teachers who participated in the first Project TEEACH-related bug-in-ear study (Rock et al., in press). Quantitative and qualitative results indicated that the advanced online bug-in-ear technology was a practical and efficient way to provide immediate job-embedded feedback, resulting in four noteworthy outcomes. First, the climate in the teachers' classrooms improved significantly. During instructional interactions, the teachers used more specific, descriptive praise and fewer reprimands contributing to a nurturing, student-centered learning environment. Second, the teachers' use of research-based practices increased significantly. Third, students' on-task behavior improved from 73.8% to 92.7%. Fourth, the teachers viewed the advanced online bug-in-ear technology as a powerful tool for improving the teaching and learning process.


Rock, M.L., Gregg, M., Howard, P.W., Ploessl, D.M., Maughn, S., Gable, R.A. & Zigmond, N.P. (2009). See Me, Hear Me, Coach Me. Journal of Staff Development, 30(3), 24-26. Retrieved July 5, 2020 from .

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