Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Dissertation


Teacher work groups--Iowa; English teachers--Training of--Iowa;


Joyce and Showers (1980) described the impact that a peer coaching relationship can have on teachers as they work to transfer learning that occurs during professional learning opportunities to the classroom. Theory, demonstration, practice, and feedback are critical elements of professional development, yet, according to some research, only when the support of a peer coaching practice is provided, will significant numbers of teachers (as many as 90%) implement new strategies into the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine if the presence of a peer coaching relationship impacts the instructional practice of high school English teachers. This qualitative study focused on four high school English teachers in a rural Iowa high school. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and document review. This case study focused on the potential change in instructional practice as a result of peer coaching, as well as areas of practice most likely to change, barriers to implementation, and support for implementation. The practice of peer coaching in this school district was modeled, loosely, after the peer coaching protocol as described by Gottesman (2000), though it appeared that observation of a peer was the central focus, rather than the provision of feedback and the development of a professional relationship. Themes that appeared throughout the course of the case study included a lack of a sense of urgency to observe peers, or perception that the practice was less likely to impact the classroom than other collaborative structures like the PLC or team. With pressures to increase student performance, and the role of the classroom teacher clearly a dominant force for student learning, strategies to strengthen teachers and build professional capacity are imperative. With time at a premium, school systems need to ensure that structures are in place to foster continuous learning and growth among teachers. Implications include the implementation of peer review as an element of teacher evaluation protocols. Similarly, systems that are fostering collaborative networks among teachers will need to develop new skills appropriate for this practice, including building trust, providing feedback to peers, and objectively observing the practice of a fellow colleague.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education

First Advisor

Victoria Robinson, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Rodney Dieser, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 132 pages)



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