Evaluating reciprocal coaching as a differentiated professional development strategy for experienced teachers : the effect of the GK-12 program on teachers



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Professional development is key to improved student and school success, however research in this field is relatively new and teacher learning is often lackluster. Additionally, alternative strategies are needed to address the unique professional development needs of experienced teachers. One possible strategy is classroom-embedded reciprocal coaching, such as that used in the National Science Foundation's GK-12 program, between experienced classroom teachers and graduate student scientists. Teachers were surveyed to determine if their participation in GK-12 provided a positive professional development experience. It was found that teachers benefited from this type of professional development with a perceived increase in their science content knowledge and an overall high level of satisfaction with the program. Interviews revealed common themes such as the teacher's viewpoint of whether this was professional development, the teachers' areas of learning, the reciprocal nature of the coaching relationship, and the prospect of sustainability.