As published in TIE Online April 10, 2024

Instructional coaching is a powerful tool that can have a transformative impact on schools, teachers, and students. As a formal or informal process, instructional coaching is non-evaluative and invitational in nature (Cofino, 2023). It begins with goal-setting, often involving a cycle, structure, or system of reflection, and operates close to the classroom, with observations, co-teaching or modeling as a central part of the experience (Cofino, 2023). An instructional coach is someone who implements and facilitates this instructional coaching, and as such, can take on a variety of roles. These roles range from resource provider to learning facilitator to mentor to change catalyst (Killion & Harrison, 2006). All aspects are essential to the success of instructional coaching overall and though the roles are varying and complex in nature, they are all grounded in the notion that every learner deserves to thrive and that well-implemented instructional coaching is part of unlocking their full potential.

Why is this research important?

The value of instructional coaching is often anecdotally understood, with teachers and administrators alike sharing about their experiences with an instructional coach. There is also an extensive knowledge base to support the use of instructional coaching (Aguilar, 2013, 2016; Knight, 2017, 2021; Sweeney, 2011, 2016, 2018), however there is a gap in the literature around instructional coaching in the international school context (Cofino, 2023). Additionally, in international schools, instructional coaching programs can vary significantly, depending on country, school, and context. Given the lack of research in this unique, international context and the prominent variation that can occur, there is a distinct need for research that better illuminates instructional coaching in the world of international education.

But who will conduct this research?

The Association for the Advancement of Instructional Coaching in International School (AAICIS) is dedicated to amplifying the impact of instructional coaching in international schools and in endeavoring to fill this gap as they know well the power that research can hold. AAICIS is conducting research into the current state of instructional coaching in international schools through the use of a survey that seeks to understand the work of instructional coaches at international schools. The survey aims to uncover similarities, differences, and trends in how instructional coaches are deployed and what they are asked to do. The survey also includes a variety of questions to help capture these ideas as well as others to help AAICIS achieve their mission of amplifying the impact of instructional coaching in international schools.

Data is collected, then what?

Research does not stop at the administration of a survey. It is integrally important to take the data a survey provides and do something with it. As Garmston and Wellman (2022) say, “Data have no meaning on their own. Meaning is a result of human interaction with data” (p. 59). AAICIS is committed to not only collecting data but also applying robust methods to analyze the data, identifying key themes and areas of opportunity, informing schools in how they go about instructional coaching and also prompting areas for further research. 

In service of this, we are asking instructional coaches as well as those leaders who support instructional coaching in an international school to share their insights and experiences with the AAICIS research team on this survey. The survey is open through April 30th, 2024. We hope to share the results with the global community of international educators early June, 2024.


Aguilar, E. (2013). The art of coaching. Jossey-Bass.

Aguilar, E. (2016). The art of coaching teams. John Wiley & Sons.

Cofino, K. (2023). Fostering a Culture of Growth and Belonging:  The Multi-Faceted Impact of Instructional Coaching in International Schools. In L. L. Hammer, R. C. Hansen, & M. R. Barker (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Critical Issues and global trends in International Education (pp. 284–322). essay, IGI Global. 

Killion, J. & Harrison, C. (2006). Taking the lead: New roles for teachers and school-based coaches. National 

Staff Development Council.

Knight, J. (2017). The impact cycle: What instructional coaches should do to foster powerful improvements in 

teaching. Corwin.

Knight, J. (2021). The definitive guide to instructional coaching: Seven factors for success. Corwin.

Sweeney, D. (2011). Student-centered coaching: A guide for coaches and principals. Corwin.

Sweeney, D. & Harris, D. (2016).  Student-centered coaching: The moves. Corwin.

Sweeney, D & Mausbach, A. (2018). Leading student-centered coaching. Corwin.

Thinking Collaborative, LLC. (2022) Adaptive schools foundation seminar learning guide (4th ed.). Rowman & 


Author Bios and Social Media:

Dr. Samantha Olson-Wyman is a Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning Specialist at the American School of Guatemala (CAG) in Guatemala City.

Sam LinkedIn:

Dr. Kristen Moreland is currently serving as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the Littleton School District in Littleton, New Hampshire, USA.

Kristen LinkedIn:

Jordan Benedict is a secondary Learning Coach at the International School of Kenya (ISK) in Nairobi.

Jordan LinkedIn:

Association for the Advancement of Instructional Coaching in International School (AAICIS)

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