Influencing social capital in times of change: a three pronged approach to instructional coaching at the middle school level
This mixed methods participatory action research study explored how an instructional coach influenced a state mandated curriculum adoption at a Title 1 urban middle school. The purpose of this study was to identify ways in which an instructional coach supported a veteran staff during the adoption of new curriculum standards. The instructional coach/action researcher employed a three pronged coaching approach that incorporated individual and team coaching sessions and increased networking to encourage and support the development of social capital. This study was informed using Vygotsky's Social Learning Theory, Wenger's Communities of Practice, Coleman's Social Capital Theory, and Hall and Horde's Concerns-Based Adoption Model. The study is heavily weighted in favor of qualitative data which includes participant reflections, coach individual session and team session reflections, field-notes, team meeting videos, and exit interviews. Several themes emerged supporting the use of a differentiated coaching approach, the promotion of social capital, and the identification of initiative overload as a barrier to curriculum adoption. The quantitative data analysis, pre and post study Stages of Concern Questionnaires, produced evidence that participants experienced minor shifts in their concerns relating to the adoption of Common Core State Standards. Results were used to inform coaching decisions based on individual participant needs as well as to augment the qualitative findings. Ideas for further research are discussed.