Working Paper

20/050

Can Virtual Replace In-person Coaching? Experimental Evidence on Teacher Professional Development and Student Learning in South Africa

Jacobus Cilliers
Brahm Fleisch
Janeli Kotzé
Nompumelelo Mohohlwane
Stephen Taylor
Tshegofatso Thulare

We experimentally compare on-site with virtual coaching of South African teachers. After three years, on-site coaching improved students' English oral language and reading proficiency by 0.31 and 0.13 SD, respectively. Virtual coaching improved English oral language proficiency (0.12 SD), had no impact on English reading proficiency, and an unintended negative effect on home language literacy. Classroom observations show that on-site coaching improved teaching practice and that virtual coaching led to larger crowding-out of home language teaching time. Implementation and survey data suggest that the use of technology did not preclude effectiveness, but rather that in-person contact enabled more accountability and support.

Citation:

Cilliers et al. 2020. Can Virtual Replace In-person Coaching? Experimental Evidence on Teacher Professional Development and Student Learning in South Africa. RISE Working Paper Series. 20/050. https://doi.org/10.35489/BSGRISEWP_2020/050.