RTLB Services, instructional coaching, and models of school-based prevention: A Good Match, in Theory

Year: 2012

Author: Jackson, Hal

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Ministry of Education policies in New Zealand place RTLB professionals at the heart of efforts to promote the widespread use of effective instruction and educational supports for children exhibiting learning and behavioural difficulties. The RTLB role is designed to facilitate a proactive response to particular challenges, as well as strengthen teachers', if not schools' capacity to address similar challenges in the future.

In a different educational context (i.e., United States), two education initiatives have emerged to promote the use of more effective instruction and evidence-based prevention practices. The first, instructional coaching, is becoming a widely embraced alternative to more traditional approaches to professional development. For example, the Kansas Coaching Project is demonstrating that “by offering support, feedback, and intensive, individualized professional learning, coaching promises to be a better way to improve instruction in schools” (Knight, 2006, p. 36). The second more ambitious policy-driven initiative, referred to as response-to-intervention, involves implementing an interrelated set of school-based prevention practices targeting at risk students' academic and social / behavioural support needs. Both capacity building initiatives, require coordination, administrative support and ongoing commitment to professional development.

This presentation will (a) introduce the strategies and principles of a particularly successful approach to instructional coaching (Knight, 2011), (b) argue that educators and administrators must come to terms with the fact 'evidence-based practice' is best understand as a verb (Odom, 2009; Odom & Buysse, 2007), and finally (c) describe a model for building schools' capacity to implement and sustain the use of effective prevention and targeted intervention practices to address the needs of children and youth exhibiting learning and behavioural difficulties. Seminar participants will discuss the following questions: Are these capacity-building initiatives appropriate for non-U.S. educational contexts (such as New Zealand) and if so, what will it take to develop the collective will required to promote more inclusive school cultures and effective educational practices?



Knight, J. (2006). Instructional coaching: Eight factors for realizing better classroom teaching through support, feedback and intensive, individualized professional learning. The School Administrator, 63, 36-40.

Knight, J. (2011). Unmistakable impact: A partnership approach for dramatically improving instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Odom, S. L., & Buysse, V. (2007, April). Evidence-based practice in early childhood special education. Annual Conference of the Council for Exceptional Children, Louisville, KY.

Odom, S. L. (2009). The tie that binds: Evidence-based practice, implementation science, and early intervention. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 29, 53-61.