School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Timothy Nelson


Active Learner Engagement, Coaching, Instructional Leader




The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of instructional coaches in professional development (PD) meetings with overseas instructional leaders in the Department of Defense-connected community. Progressivism drives the research as it pertains to actively engaging learners through ownership and the growth of their individual knowledge. The central research question examined intended to gather the lived experiences of instructional coaches who use engagement strategies in coaching sessions in an overseas Department of Defense community. Voluntary participants live in an overseas Department of Defense-connected community. The participants are of diverse ethnicities with numerous personal and professional backgrounds. Interviews were conducted, focus groups held, and journals were collected to document instructional leaders’ delivery of professional development and the effectiveness of information delivered to educators on a routine basis. Data were analyzed using procedures laid out by Moustakas’ (1994) seven step plan to determine findings, and limitations, and identify gaps to be recommended for future research. Five major themes were identified: (a) questioning techniques, (b) differentiation, (c) relationships, (d) goals and objectives, and (e) professional learning. The analysis of the data aligned with the research. The determined results state coaches should leverage open-ended questions to allow coachees to reach their own conclusions when possible. In addition, based on the collected data, providing specific guidance through instructional inquiry should be utilized in specific instances when working with time sensitive situations.

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