Instructional Coaching Cycles

May 18, 2024

In this resource, we feature three stories about instructional coaching from across the United States. These stories demonstrate a variety of ways educators support the professional learning of science teachers through coaching for more ambitious and equitable approaches to science education. You will also find some templates for the work that is mentioned and many links to other resources.

Developed by:
Josh Simodet and Ann Schumacher, Puyallup School District
Nathan Spencer, Wayne RESA, Michigan
Dr. Meenakshi Sharma, Mercer University

Design Considerations

  1. Focus on Small Groups: By working with teachers in small groups, coaches can provide more personalized support and address individual needs more effectively. Small group settings also promote collaboration among teachers, allowing them to learn from each other’s experiences and perspectives.
  2. Consistently Position Teachers as Learners Emphasizing that teachers are learners themselves helps create a supportive and non-judgmental environment. 
  3. Make Connections to Classroom Standards and Curriculum: It is essential to consider how equity is centered in classrooms in teachers’ districts and classrooms, to make instructional coaching relevant to their contexts.
  4. Time Considerations: Recognizing that time is a valuable and often limited resource for teachers is crucial.


As we focus on equity-centered learning for students in our K-12 classrooms, it’s crucial to consider what equitable learning opportunities should look like for K-12 teachers. We view our teachers as lifelong learners who benefit from instructional coaching not as a quick fix for their challenges, but as ongoing opportunities for professional growth. With this foundational belief, instructional coaching cycles also take into account equitable learning opportunities for teachers as they should aim to work with them to be equity-centered science educators. We used the following guiding questions to generate a model that can afford equitable learning opportunities for teachers.

  • What matters to teachers, and what do they need to learn, emphasizing teacher agency as they engage in coaching cycles to become equity-centered educators?
  • Who matters as teachers engage in learning? How do we value their classroom experiences and adopt an asset-based view of what they bring as learners?
  • Why is it important that teachers experience their learning with an equitable approach? How does this perspective help them to understand learning and facilitate it for their students?

Therefore this tool aims to;

  • Position teachers as intellectuals and professionals dedicated to enhancing their practice throughout the instructional cycles while considering data and critique of their practice. 
  • Encourage teacher voice – eliciting teachers’ ideas as they progress through the instructional cycle and building on them, identifying which aspects of equity they need to prioritize and consider as they develop their repertoire as equity-centered science educators.
  • Taking a sociocultural perspective on teacher learning and emphasizing that learning happens over time as teachers engage in rehearsals and discussions about their practice with their peers, considering how to shift their teaching practice towards equity-centered approaches.

Critical questions to consider:

  • What strategies can be employed to address power dynamics among teachers and with their instructional coach as they engage in instructional coaching cycles?
  •  How do we define teacher success as they shift their practices towards equitable science instruction?


Checkout following resources that support the instructions coaching cycle

Coaching Tools

Related Posts

This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Award #1907471 and #1315995