Faculty Publications

Coaching Early Childhood Teachers: A Systematic Review Of Its Effects On Teacher Instruction And Child Development

Document Type



coaching, early childhood development, situated learning, teacher instruction

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Review of Education






Coaching is proven to be an effective strategy of professional development; however, rare research has documented the nuances of coaching effects and the enablers in early childhood education. This study presents a systematic review of 33 randomised controlled trials or (quasi-)experiments to investigate the effects of coaching as a professional development tool on early childhood teachers' instruction and young children's developmental outcomes. The synthesis of evidence revealed positive effects of coaching on teachers' knowledge gains and instructional competencies and a range of children's developmental outcomes (language and literacy, social-emotional development, and academic skills). We analysed the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ components of coaching to explain the enabling factors surrounding the effects of coaching. Empirical evidence synthesised in this review supports the theoretical notions of situated learning derived from anthropological studies of apprenticeship, suggesting that coaching should be situated in the real teaching context for promoting its effects. This systematic review is the first to apply situated learning theory in discussing how coaching works and reveals a robust positive effect of coaching on teachers' knowledge gains and instructional abilities, and children's developmental outcomes. Guidelines that could help understand the application of coaching are provided to inform the scaling up of coaching-focused professional development programmes in early childhood settings. Implications of this research synthesis are also discussed for future research.


Department of Special Education

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version