COPRA - Content-Focused Coaching

COPRA – Content-Focused Coaching

Learning to Teach with Content-Focused Coaching. Implementation of Coaching Processes with Mentor Teachers and Peer-Coaches and its Effectiveness in the Teaching Practicum in Switzerland and Germany.

Fritz C. Staub (University of Zurich), Alois Niggli (University of Fribourg), Tina Hascher (University of Bern), Dorit Bosse (University of Kassel), Sibylle Rahm (University of Bamberg)


The teaching practicum is an essential part in teacher education, providing prospective teachers with the opportunity to connect theoretical knowledge with experience-based learning in schools. However, little is known about the effects of specific ways of assisting and coaching pre-service teachers during their field experiences. The aim of the bi-national research project COPRA (Coaching in the Practicum) is to examine the implementation and efficacy of various support programs during teaching practicums. To this end, field experiments are carried out in four different regions for teacher education in Switzerland and Germany. Thereby, profiles of the different institutions (culture for the teaching practicum, frame conditions) as assessed by qualitative methods are described and taken into account for interpreting the findings of the experimental field study.

The study is being conducted with more than 400 pre-service teachers. During their teaching practicum, pre-service teachers receive either the regular support offered by their university of teacher education (baseline, control group) or they are randomly allocated to one of three different support conditions (intervention groups): (1) The pre-service teachers receive newly developed, content-specific teaching materials, (2) the pre-service teachers additionally receive support by a mentor teacher who participated in a training on content-focused coaching (see Staub, 2015) or (3) the pre-service teachers themselves receive a training in content-focused coaching and receive support by a peer coach during the teaching practicum. The study aims to examine the effectiveness of those interventions in regard of the practicum itself (e.g., perceived self-efficacy during teaching), learning outcomes of the pre-service teachers (e.g. increase of competence in lesson planning) and learning outcomes of the pupils being taught by the pre-service teachers (learning growth in the field of written argumentation).

The research project is of particular social, educational and political relevance, as knowledge about conducive and obstructive conditions for improving the teaching practicum is gained. Thereby the project is breaking new ground as cultural and context-specific peculiarities are being taken into account for the implementation of the interventions and their effectiveness.

For more information please visit our project’s website:

Project Duration:

April 2016 until April 2020

Research Team:

Prof. Dr. Fritz Staub (scientific director)

Dr. Eva Becker (project coordination)

Daniela Rupp, MA (PhD candidate and project member)

Ladina Camenisch, MA (project member)

Cooperating partners:

University of Bamberg (Prof. Dr. Sibylle Rahm)

University of Berne (Prof. Dr. Tina Hascher)

University of Kassel (Prof. Dr. Dorit Bosse)

Prof. Dr. Alois Niggli

Funding Source:

Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and German Research Foundation (DFG)