Peer coaching is a confidential process through which two or more professional colleagues work together to reflect on current practices; expand, refine, and build new skills; share ideas; teach one another; conduct classroom research; or solve problems in the workplace. Although peer coaching seems to be the most prominent label for this type of activity, a variety of other names are used in schools: peer support, consulting colleagues, peer sharing, and caring. These other names seem to have evolved, in some cases, out of teacher discomfort with the term coaching. Some claim the word coaching implies that one person in the collaborative relationship has a different status. This discomfort is to be expected because the label may imply to some an inequality among colleagues that is inconsistent with the historical norm of a nonhierarchical structure within the teaching ranks. As research and experience inform us, “The reality is that a teacher has the same ‘rank’ in his or her last year of teaching as the first” (Sizer 1985). Teachers have the same classroom space, number of students, and requirements. Regardless of how coaching relationships are labeled, they all focus on the collaborative development, refinement, and sharing of craft knowledge.
Peer coaching has nothing to do with evaluation. It is not intended as a remedial activity or strategy to “fix” teachers. Several school systems have supported peer coaching as a way to increase feedback about instruction and curriculum. One teacher, reflecting on the support that peer coaching offers before the formal evaluation process, described it as “a dress rehearsal before the final performance.” Another spoke of peer coaching as “a time when you can take risks and try out new ideas, instructional strategies, or different approaches to the curriculum and discuss the results with a trusted colleague.”…from http://www.ascd.org.