Coaching for Positive Disintegration in Schools: Supporting Educators’ Journeys Towards Transformational Change

Sylvia Bagley, PhD

Coaching offers professional development for teachers which allows them to uncover their own strengths, focus on students’ needs, and maximize their practice. Various coaching models proposed and studied over the years have included instructional coaching, content-area coaching, student-centered coaching, peer coaching, and Cognitive Coaching (Knight, 2008). Most recently, Transformational Coaching (Aguilar, 2013, 2020) has emerged as a model which acknowledges that many challenges in our education system are systemic, AND that each teacher needs to deeply reflect on their own behaviors, beliefs, and ways of being to make a tangible shift towards more equitable outcomes and practices in schools. When combined with an awareness of the Theory of Positive Disintegration (Dabrowski, 1964/2018), transformational coaches can support teachers through various stages of disintegration and integration by helping them recognize when their teaching practice is simply replicating an uncritical approach they’ve internalized, to beginning to question the “why” of their practice, to thinking about better alternatives, to consciously forming a teaching practice based on values that prioritize well-being and equitable practices for all.


Sylvia S. Bagley, Ph.D. is Assistant Teaching Professor of Equitable Instructional Leadership at the University of Washington, where she works with teacher leaders and coaches engaged in transformational educational practices. Dr. Bagley is the parent of three twice-exceptional children and first learned about the Theory of Positive Disintegration through her research to support them. She serves as Secretary of the Board for SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), where she also oversees SENG’s Community Groups and piloted an inaugural community group for gifted adults last winter. Dr. Bagley is excited to be a first-time presenter at the Dabrowski Congress!