Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeanne L. Surface


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the essence of instructional coaching between teacher candidates and an instructional coach as it relates to reflection of practice. Reflection has increasingly been recognized as a central element of professional growth during teacher preparation (Barnett, 2009; Cochran, et al, 2009; Hiebert, Morris, Berk, & Jansen, 2007; Parkinson, 2009). There is limited understanding of the process of learning with the support of an instructional coach within the context of field experience during teacher preparation. The limited research regarding the reflective practices alongside an instructional coach, during field experience led me to analyze the interactions that take place between the instructional coach and teacher candidates during the teacher preparation program. The participants in this study were 14 teacher candidates and an instructional coach at a metropolitan university in the Midwest. Six central existential themes emerged from the study; contextualizing the experience, launching the conversation, refocusing the big blur, fostering the mindset, noticing the unnoticed and naming what is noticed. The themes from this study indicate that by participating in coaching conversations with an instructional coach, teacher candidates were able to engage in reflective practices that may not have been achieved alone. With the support and guidance of an instructional coach, the teacher candidates were able to identifying noteworthy events, analyze these events in order to gain new understandings about teaching and learning, and set goals based on the newly acquired knowledge.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2015 Abigail J. Burke.

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