Practice-Based Coaching is an essential part of the Embedded Instruction: Tools for Teachers (EIEL:TfT) professional development intervention.

Professional development is widely viewed as an important vehicle for adequately preparing and improving the practice of personnel working in programs that serve young children and their families. A range of professional development approaches can be provided to enhance the skills and knowledge of early childhood practitioners. In recent years, coaching (or similar forms of PD) has been shown to be essential in enhancing teachers implementation of practices. Yet there is a pressing need to clearly specify the features of coaching and examine the intensities and forms of coaching that are effective and feasible for increasing preschool teachers’ use of evidence-based practices, particularly practices associated with improved learning outcomes for young children with disabilities.

Practice-Based Coaching is unique in that the core features of the coaching are clearly specified and we provide structured supports to promote coaching fidelity. Practice-Based Coaching is a cyclical process for supporting teachers’ use of effective teaching practices that lead to positive outcomes for children.



Practice-Based Coaching occurs within the context of a collaborative partnership.

The coaching-cycle components include:

(1) Establishing shared goals and action planning,

(2) Engaging in focused observation, and

(3) Reflecting and receiving feedback

about teaching practices.


Moreover, practice-based coaching can occur in a variety of formats. These might include variations that alter the coach by working with an expert-coach, peer coach, or coaching yourself. Or variations that support the coaching of an individual or group in either a distance or face-to-face format. Another key aspect of practice-based coaching is it’s targeted focus on a defined set of practices. The focus of the practices can vary widely (e.g., instructional, interactional, content specific such as literacy, numeracy, or social-emotional).

In the Embedded Instruction for Early Learning Project the ‘practices’ of practice-based coaching focus on key practices for planning, implementing, and evaluating embedded instruction.