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Real learning happens in real life

By Jim Knight
April 2021
When talking about instructional coaching, I find it helpful to divide professional learning into two different models: outside-in and inside-out. The outside-in model involves leaders identifying effective teaching practices for teachers, then providing learning experiences designed to help them learn those practices. The thinking behind this approach makes sense. These are research-based, proven strategies, so teachers should implement them. Unfortunately, the outside-in model frequently encounters problems. Teachers can find it difficult to fit the new strategy into their existing way of teaching, but they are expected to implement it even if they don’t like it. If teachers explain that they don’t think a strategy is appropriate for their students, or that it is a bad fit for their approach to teaching, they often are labeled

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Senior Partner at Instructional Coaching Group | + posts

Jim Knight, senior partner of Instructional Coaching Group, is a research associate at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. He has spent more than two decades studying instructional coaching, writing several books on the topic.  Knight’s articles on instructional coaching have been included in publications such as the Journal of Staff Development, Principal Leadership, The School Administrator, and Teachers Teaching Teachers. Knight directs several research projects, including Pathways to Success, a comprehensive, district-wide school reform project in the Topeka, Kansas, School District. Knight also leads the Intensive Instructional Coaching Institutes and the Teaching Learning Coaching annual conference. Knight has presented and consulted in more than 40 states, most Canadian provinces, and around the world. He has also won several university teaching, innovation, and service awards.


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