Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Barry Redmond


Literacy coaching as a professional development model provides teachers with job-embedded support while learning about research-based instructional strategies. Teacher learning occurs in the context of this relationship. Literature revealed coaches’ difficulty navigating this aspect of their role. This study was designed to add foundational understanding of the literacy coach-teacher relationship using Kegan’s (1982, 1994) Constructive-Developmental Theory to conceptualize the teacher-coach relationship and determine how it impacted coaching activities. The theory examines how individuals’ developmental capacities influence how they make meaning of their experiences. Given the complexity of the literacy-coaching role, it is critical to have a clear picture of how coaches understand their relationships, the differences in their understandings, and how they impact their coaching activities.

Six coaches in a western North Carolina district participated in the study. Using coded data from qualitative instruments, the findings of this study suggest that, based on Kegan’s theory, the literacy coach-teacher relationship impacts how coaches design their coaching frameworks, work with teachers, and provide feedback. Coaches’ understanding of the relationship based on Kegan’s theory caused coaches’ activities to differ in qualitatively different ways. The theoretical framework helps explain why some coaches are more likely to perform activities in a supportive role, while other coaches create more robust frameworks for recruiting and engaging teachers using coaching activities that are more likely to impact organizational changes. This study has implications for an increased attention to developmental capacity and growth for literacy coaches from school leaders and further examination of the connection between literacy coaching and organizational change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.