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Building a professional learning community in preservice teacher education: Peer coaching and video analysis

Jeanne Claire Gemmell, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This qualitative study evaluated the effects of implementing a peer coaching process with ten graduate interns during their student teaching experiences in an alternative, elementary education program. A peer coaching model was provided in combination with an existing and more traditional model of supervision from cooperating teachers and university supervisors. This study explored the ways in which a peer coaching process affected the preservice teachers' reflective and instructional practices, and how it impacted their acquisition and development of collaboration skills. The study also examined difficulties that were encountered and how the process might be adjusted to make it more successful for future use. The findings of this study suggest that a peer coaching process can provide a valuable component to a teacher education program. Having the opportunity to interact with peers provided immense affective support for the interns as well as opportunities for reflective interactions, some of which were centered on inquiry into the craft of teaching. The interns in this study also used the peer observation process to increase their teaching effectiveness by adding to and refining their pedagogical skills. The peer coaching experience offered additional support than that provided by the mentor teacher and resource person, with the interns suggesting that what they learned from peers was different but complementary from what they learned from their mentor teachers and resource staff. While the majority of the interns' perceptions of the peer coaching experience were positive, they were able to offer specific suggestions for improving the process, including the need for additional guidance on facilitating reflection conferences in order to provide more critical and honest feedback to peers. The following four factors appeared to contribute to the successful implementation of a peer coaching process within this teacher education program: (1) Overall opportunities for collaboration were an integral component of the teacher education program. (2) Cohorts of interns were placed in only two sites, one of which was an urban setting. (3) Structured preparation was provided in the peer coaching process. and (4) The peer coaching process was a required program component.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Gemmell, Jeanne Claire, "Building a professional learning community in preservice teacher education: Peer coaching and video analysis" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3078685.