A study of peer coaching in teachers' online professional learning communities
Published on Jun 1, 2017in Universal Access in The Information Society0.92
· DOI :10.1007/s10209-016-0461-4
Facilitating professional development of teachers has been considered as a critical factor for improving education quality. The use of an online professional learning community can provide professional development opportunities including courses, activities, and interactions with peers; thus, teachers can get together to share their resources, solve problems, develop working strategies, and improve their performance. In this study, peer coaching consists of four factors: academic support, technical support, emotional support, and reflective support. The authors collected self-reports regarding peer coaching behavior from 376 members of online professional learning communities in China. Data analyses and investigations of logs showed that the teachers had rated themselves as slightly above the average in all the factors of peer coaching. Peer coaching was mainly composed of reflective support and emotional support. Male teachers tended to provide more technical support, and senior teachers tended to provide more academic support and less technical support. The teachers with 6---10 years of teaching experience scored lowest in the construct of technical support. There was no significant difference between primary school and junior high school teachers. The findings of this study suggest that the development of teachers' pedagogical, content, and technological knowledge (TPACK) may help to improve the effect of peer coaching and conducting training for teachers before the peer coaching process may help.