Instructional Coaching Focus Areas

Job-embedded Instructional Coaching refers to the belief that professional development through an instructional coaching BDA cycle. This is most successful when it is personalized, teacher-driven, and part of the ongoing teaching and learning process. In the spirit of a growth mindset, we believe that instructional coaching should support each teacher's desire to grow professionally and personally through reflective practice.

Many teachers have identified a clear need for instructional coaching support. Some areas where instructional coaches can offer job-embedded training, professional development, and through reflective practice are found below.

  • Canvas and other learning technologies
  • Co-lesson/Co-unit planning
  • Formative and summative assessment planning
  • Developing student engagement strategies
  • Find solutions to general teacher concerns (resources, technology, colleague networking, etc.)
  • Analyze student data together
  • Facilitate customized job-embedded PD for departments/teams/grade levels
  • Help find resources for the classroom
  • New resource implementation
  • Classroom management practices

Additional instructional focus areas where instructional coaches can offer feedback can be found below.


  • Scaffolding of lessons to meet diverse student needs


  • Too fast, too slow?
  • Time spent in each lesson component

Strategic Questioning/Objective

  • Connect to lesson target/objective
  • Assess understanding
  • Stretch student thinking beyond yes/no

Clarity of Presentation

  • Modeling
  • Clarifying
  • Providing clear directions
Student Movement
  • Positive
    • quickly transitioning
    • following directions
    • taking initiative
  • Negative
    • getting out of seat frequently
    • fidgeting
    • interfering with others
Student Engagement
  • Positive
    • volunteering responses
    • on-task student-to-student interaction
    • listening
    • carrying out responsibilities
  • Negative
    • speaking out while off-task
    • off-task student-to-student interaction
    • interrupting
    • interfering

Use of Time

  • Transitions from one activity to another
  • Time spent with individual students or small groups
  • Time spent getting lesson/class started

Monitoring/Checks for Understanding

  • Monitoring student progress during independent work time
  • Pauses at appropriate points in the lesson to check for student understanding
Participation Strategies
  • Ensure a variety of student voices
  • Use of discussion protocols
  • Opportunities for partner or small group collaborative work
Classroom Arrangement
  • Furniture placement
  • Visual supports on walls
  • Environment for learning
  • Provision for multiple uses of space

Material Management

  • student and teacher materials organized to support the flow of the lesson
  • Handouts are clear, meaningful, and appropriate

Instructional Strategies

  • Flipped classroom
  • Project-based learning
  • Inquiry-based learning

Motivating Learners

  • Offering student learning environment choice
  • Offering student assessment choice
  • Badging and Micro-credentials

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