The perspectives of veteran high school teachers participating in a voluntary peer coaching program
Arnau, Lea Meyer
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The purpose of this study was to describe the perspectives of veteran teachers who participated in a voluntary peer coaching program at one suburban high school. A grounded theory approach was used to determine the motivations these teachers had for participating in the voluntary peer coaching program as well as to determine the meanings that peer coaching had for them. Face-to-face interviews were conducted, audio tapes were transcribed, codes were noted, and categories were established, all guided by the theoretical framework of symbolic interactionism. Constant comparative analysis was used to move the researcher from descriptive findings toward theoretical discussion grounded in the data. Implications for staff developers were drawn in order to add to the field with regard to adult learning. Findings of this study indicated that studied teachers were motivated to participate in a voluntary peer coaching program because they wanted to learn and to gain meaningful feedback. Other motivations included their desire for choice and their dissatisfaction with traditional observation. Peer coaching, for the teachers, meant meaningful feedback, which consisted of idea sharing and affirmation, a desire to direct their learning, greater trust and morale among coaching teachers, and justification for more work. For staff developers, the implication is that peer coaching, presented as a voluntary professional growth program and guided by adult learning principles, served to increase teachers' perceptions of their own professional skills as well as respect and morale among teachers.