Coaching is an essential element to achieving high levels of success with a schoolwide implementation of Direct Instruction (DI). Coaching improves teachers’ mastery of DI techniques at the same time that it builds teachers’ confidence in their abilities to effect positive changes in student performance.
Schools that have already received extensive on-site support can benefit by arranging remote coaching over the Internet with a consultant from the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). With the proper hardware and software requirements in place, NIFDI consultants can observe teachers instructing groups remotely and provide specific feedback on what they observe. Except for demonstrating lessons or parts of lessons, these “virtual visits” can provide full coaching support to teachers.
Virtual visits can be used to target specific instructional problems, student behavior problems, or specific classrooms. A virtual visit for as short a time as 15 minutes can be effective and far less costly than bringing in a consultant.
In addition to hardware and software requirements, virtual visits require a peer coach or building coordinator to operate the laptop and position it where the presentation book, the teacher, and most of the children’s faces are visible. With remarkable clarity, the technology enables the NIFDI consultant to provide feedback to the coach through audio and text messages in real time!
Virtual visits cost $165 per hour.
IMPORTANT: In times of budgetary constraints, school leaders are forced to make difficult choices. Decreasing external support for a DI implementation before the school and district have developed the capacity to maintain program fidelity at a high level can have negative effects on student performance. Faced with tough budgetary decisions, schools should consider employing virtual visits to maintain external support at a fraction of the cost of on-site visits.