Teacher video co-coaching to support the development of dialogic teaching in the primary classroom

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Dialogic teaching has been seen as a method of supporting social and moral learning processes (English 2016). It has been framed as improving student learning by teachers improving classroom dialogue and interaction patterns (Alexander, 2020). This presentation reports on a two-year qualitative study of peer co-coaching triads introduced to develop English primary school teachers’ skills in dialogic teaching. Whilst much is known about teacher development by means of more formal learning activities, research on more everyday situated teacher learning is limited (Kyndt et al 2016). Supporting teacher development includes collaborative teaching practices, and increasingly, coaching is
acknowledged as a facilitator of teacher professional development. In an educational context, coaching can take many forms, with emphasis often placed on the role of the instructional coach working in a dyadic relationship alongside a teacher with the intention of developing instructional practice (Haneda, Teemant, and Sherman 2017; Lofthouse, 2018). In the field of educational leadership, the potential of group coaching has been recognised for enhancing learning about leadership practices (Fluckiger et. al., 2016). However, research into group coaching in the wider school context (and specifically group coaching between teachers) remains minimal (Fluckiger et al, 2016). Furthermore,
Roberston (2009) acknowledges that educational leaders do not necessarily have the skills, theoretical frameworks, time or experience to effectively coach their staff in the development of instructional practices.

This presentation responds to the lacunae in our professional knowledge through consideration of a research project undertaken with seven teachers in a primary school in the South of England. The research focused on developing teachers’ skills in using group (peer) video coaching to further dialogic teaching approaches in their classrooms. In doing so, it sought to address previous recommendations (Bignell, 2018) that academics should seek out models of professional development which empower teachers to lead professional dialogue in order to develop the depth of understanding required to effectively implement dialogic teaching in daily classroom practices. To that end, a model of group (triadic) video coaching was adopted that sought to develop teacher skills in dialogic teaching and explore the potentialities of a group coaching methodology. In seeking to give voice to the participant experiences, the research drew upon pre and postproject questionnaires and post-project interviews. Throughout interviews, the teachers, Deputy Headteacher and Headteacher reflected extensively upon their experiences of group coaching and how they understood the impact on professional learning in situ. Two research
questions were addressed:
- To what extent can teacher video co-coaching enhance the development of dialogic teaching skills?
- What are the advantages and limitations of a using group video co- coaching approach for professional development?

Methodology, Methods, Research Instruments or Sources Used
The research adhered to the interpretive paradigm. Teachers’ experiences of seeking to develop dialogic teaching in their classrooms were
conceptualised as socially constructed. Each participant’s experience of working in a reflective co-coaching triad to develop dialogic teaching in their classroom reflected local cultural realities, including patterns of experience within the participant group reflecting their collective experience.

A qualitative case study was conducted over a period of 2 years. The case was a large inner-city primary school in the South of England; the majority of pupils were from low socio-economic backgrounds. At the start of the research period, 55% of pupils were identified as being eligible for Pupil Premium funding (Department for Education, 2017). A convenience and opportunistic sampling strategy was adopted to recruit. The school was known to the researcher (having affiliated links to the University at which she was working). Teachers from the school who were keen to develop their skills in dialogic teaching and co-coaching volunteered as participants. The Headteacher selected six teachers who had a range of teaching experience and taught pupils across the breadth of the primary age range. With one teacher moving on to a new school at the end of the first year and another taking up his place at this point, seven teachers took part in this research-led intervention. The intervention consisted of six termly researcher-facilitated co-coaching sessions over a period of two years. During these sessions, teachers worked in co-coaching triads to watch, discuss and reflect upon videoed extracts of teaching. Sessions lasted three hours, and so there was time for each teacher in the triad to share their chosen video extract and take part in an associated coaching discussion. The teachers were encouraged to focus discussion of videoed teaching on teacher and pupil use of dialogic talk moves and the interactional behaviours. The GROW co-coaching model (Whitmore, 2009) was used to direct triad reflection and identification of each teacher’s next steps at the end of each session. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Conclusions, Expected Outcomes or Findings
Thematic analysis of interview data revealed that teachers reported using dialogic teaching approaches more frequently, attributing this to participation in the teacher triad co-coaching intervention. The advantages of using group video co-coaching approach in this context were afforded by several dynamics:
- the ability to replay teaching episodes for analysis of dialogic bids in order to be able to focus on the interactional detail of the lesson(s) -specifically dialogic teaching.
- the dialogic nature of the professional development intervention which mirrored the dialogic ‘drive’ in the classrooms.
- the opportunity for shared, focused reflection on dialogic teaching practices, underpinned by a willingness to be vulnerable to colleagues.
- for most teachers, the professional trust and respect was encoded in the professional model.
The challenges of a using group video co-coaching approach in this context were that some participants felt that video co-coaching exposes potential vulnerabilities about classroom interactional practices that some teachers may prefer to avoid. Participants also reflected that senior leadership ‘drive’ for an intensive professional development intervention was key to its positive impact.
The findings of this research point to the crucial role that peer video coaching plays in supporting teachers to develop dialogic teaching skills in their classrooms. This development was supported by shared teacher analysis of interactional behaviours (specifically the use of dialogic talk moves) within the context of a co-coaching triad. Findings suggest that the participant teachers understood their development of dialogic teaching to be evidenced through the principles of dialogic teaching (Sedova, 2017) and underpinned by a professional commitment to seek out a dialogic stance in their classroom interactional practices (Boyd and Markarian, 2011).

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Apr 2023
EventEuropean Educational Research Association Conference 2023 - University of Glasgow, Glasgow , United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Aug 202325 Aug 2023
Conference number: D: 2007
https://eera-ecer.de/ecer-2023-glasgow (Conference website.)


ConferenceEuropean Educational Research Association Conference 2023
Abbreviated titleECER 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • dialogic teaching
  • teacher professional development
  • teacher co-coaching
  • video co-coaching


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