The key to translating research into practice lies in continuous, job-embedded learning with ongoing support

By Jim Knight
January 2009
In the past decade, interest in the form of professional learning loosely described as coaching has exploded. This growing interest in coaching is likely fueled by educators’ recognition that traditional one-shot approaches to professional development — where teachers hear about practices but do not receive follow-up support — are ineffective at improving teaching practices. Much more support is needed to help teachers translate research into practice, and for many districts, that support is coaching. DEFINITION What is coaching? Researchers and practitioners have described several distinct approaches with unique goals and methods. Peer coaching (Showers, 1984), classroom management coaching (Sprick, Knight, Reinke, & McKale, 2006), contentfocused coaching (West & Staub, 2003), and blended coaching (Bloom, Castagna, Moir, & Warren, 2005) are just a few approaches. Three

Read the remaining content with membership access. Join or log in below to continue.

Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

Log In


Bloom, G., Castagna, C., Moir, E., & Warren, B. (2005). Blended coaching: Skills and strategies to support principal development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Bush, R.N. (1984). Effective staff development. In Making our schools more effective: Proceedings of three state conferences. San Francisco: Far West Laboratory.

Cornett, J. & Knight, J. (2008). Research on coaching. In J. Knight (Ed.), Coaching: Approaches and perspectives (pp.192-216). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Costa, A. & Garmston, R. (2002). Cognitive coaching: A foundation for renaissance schools. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.

Edwards, J.L. (2008). Cognitive coaching: A synthesis of the research. Highlands Ranch, CO: Center for Cognitive Coaching.

Knight, J. (2007). Instructional coaching: A partnership approach to improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Knight, J. & Cornett, J. (2008). Studying the impact of instructional coaching on teacher practice. Article in preparation.

Lenz, B.K., Bulgren, J., Schumaker, J., Deshler, D.D., & Boudah, D. (1994). The unit organizer routine. Lawrence, KS: Edge Enterprises.

Moran, M.C. (2007). Differentiated literacy coaching: Scaffolding for student and teacher success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Showers, B. (1984). Peer coaching: A strategy for facilitating transfer of training. Eugene, OR: Center for Educational Policy and Management.

Sprick, R., Knight, J., Reinke, W., & McKale T. (2006). Coaching classroom management: Strategies and tools for administrators and coaches. Eugene, OR: Pacific Northwest Publishing.

Toll, C.A. (2005). The literacy coach’s survival guide: Essential questions and practical answers. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

West, L. & Staub, F.C. (2003). Content-focused coaching: Transforming mathematics lessons. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. 

Image for aesthetic effect only - Jim-knight-150x188-1
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.

The Learning Professional

Published Date


  • Recent Issues

    December 2022

    Overcoming barriers to equity takes deep listening, learning about self...

    October 2022

    Professional learning can help educators navigate the competing...

    August 2022

    New teachers have unique professional learning needs and challenges. When...

    June 2022

    This issue celebrates the 2022 revision of Standards for Professional...

    Skip to content