The effects of peer coaching on elementary teachers' application of differentiated instruction
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In this study, a multiple-baseline, single-case design, the researcher examined changes that occurred in six elementary general education teachers' application of differentiated instruction. The teachers participated in an 8-week online course about differentiated instruction. During the course, teachers worked in pairs and engaged in peer-coaching sessions that consisted of planning together, observing each other, and reflecting together about the effect of their instruction on students. Classroom observations were the primary method of data collection. The study reflected three conditions beginning with a baseline condition. Following baseline, the researcher observed participants' application and performance level of differentiated instruction while they completed online course chapters and then during a peer-coaching condition. The researcher used visual analysis of observational data to determine the effect on participants' application and performance level of differentiated instruction. The researcher also collected data about participants' attitude toward differentiated instruction through pre and post surveys. Lastly, the researcher collected social validity data about participants' perception of peer coaching. The results of this study suggest that peer coaching may be a viable component to online professional development. Participants who completed all study conditions online demonstrated improvement in their application and performance level of differentiated instruction after participation in the online course and peer coaching. Survey results indicate that participants valued differentiation, viewed themselves as responsible for addressing student variance in the classroom, and believed they differentiate frequently. Participants also viewed peer coaching as a beneficial component of the professional development online course.