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A Guide to Mathematics Coaching

A Guide to Mathematics Coaching
Processes for Increasing Student Achievement

Edited by:

July 2009 | 176 pages | Corwin

"The authors provide a commonsense approach for those who work directly with classroom teachers to support and improve teaching and learning. Easily read, this book lays out a simple plan for success as a mathematics coach."
—Emily S. Rash, Mathematics Specialist
Monroe City School District, LA

Discover how effective coaching relationships add up to improved mathematics teaching and learning!

Math coaches play a vital role in strengthening math instruction and learning in schools. However, without a collegial relationship with the teachers they are trying to help, it is difficult to foster productive collaborations that lead to better teaching practice and increased student achievement. This resource helps coaches confidently clarify, define, and fulfill their role as influential mathematics leaders.

Based on principles established by NCTM and NCSM, this volume features a three-part process for engaging teachers in building high-quality, equitable mathematics programs. The chapters help coaches effectively:

  • Collaborate with teachers to align and implement curriculum that positively impacts student learning and achievement
  • Build trust and rapport with hesitant or resistant teachers
  • Develop collegial partnerships for planning, analyzing, and reflecting on instruction
  • Support and sustain individual and institutional change

Filled with numerous vignettes to illustrate coaching practices and strategies to move teachers toward more effective instructional models, A Guide to Mathematics Coaching is an essential companion for transforming mathematics classrooms.

List of Figures
About the Authors
Part I: Preparing the Foundation
1. Defining Mathematics Coaching
What Is a Mathematics Coach?

Stage 1: Defining Mathematics Coach

Stage 2: Identify Responsibilities

Stage 3: Identifying Characteristics

Stage 4: Dispelling Negative Images

Critical Points

2. Bridging From the Present to the Future
Goals, Procedures, and Shared Vision

The Present: Today's Mathematics Classrooms

The Future: Tomorrow's Mathematics Classrooms

Critical Points

3. Building Rapport With Teachers
How to Build Rapport

Coaching Scenarios

Scenario 1: The Resistant Middle-Level Teacher

Scenario 2: The Fearful First-Year Teacher

Scenario 3: The High School Teacher Who Hid the Curriculum

Critical Points

Part II: Mathematics Coaching Model
4. Focusing on the Curriculum
Why Work Toward Curriculum Alignment?

Challenging Lessons Implement the Curriculum

Aligning the Curriculum

Critical Points

5. Implementing the Curriculum as Designed
Providing Prompt, Accurate Feedback

Basics of Collecting Data

Using Data to Inform Instruction

Understanding and Producing Benchmark Assessments

Critical Points

6. Planning and Co-Teaching Lessons
Isolation and Its Effects

Challenges Unique to Mathematics Coaches

Start With Planning

Entering the Classroom


Being a Valuable Resource

Emphasis on Inclusiveness

General Approaches

Specific Strategies

Critical Points

7. Making Student Thinking Visible
Characteristics of Visible Thinking

How the Traditional Model Falls Short

Constructing an Alternative to the Traditional Model

Effecting Change Over Time

Group Planning

Observation and Demonstration Teaching

Critical Points

8. Analyzing and Reflecting on Lessons

Process for Analysis and Reflection

Structures for Reflection

Critical Points

9. Charting Long-Term Progress
Trend Data

Why Emphasize Trend Data?

Indicators of Success

Using Trend Data to Inform Teaching

Data Sources and Displays

Using Trend Data for Professional Development

Critical Points

Part III: Continuing the Work
10. Working Within the Education System
The Great Divide

Management Versus Leadership

Influence as Power

Understanding Everyone?s Role

Synergy: The Power of Groups

Critical Points

11. Sustaining Momentum
Managing Long-Term Change

Using C-BAM

Tipping Points and Breakthroughs

Staying Focused on What Matters

The Power of One


"An extremely useful resource for new and experienced mathematics coaches and the individuals responsible for their professional development and ongoing support. It provides a detailed analysis of mathematics coaching along with a comprehensive model to guide coaches as they do their work. The model goes beyond simply describing the various components of coaching work; it provides a developmental, sequential process for engaging in mathematics coaching and situates the work of coaching in the larger district context."

Diane J. Briars, Mathematics Consultant
President, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

"For those who work directly with classroom teachers, the authors provide a commonsense approach to support and improve teaching and learning. Easily read, this book lays out a simple plan for success as a mathematics coach and should be in the library of all who work with mathematics teachers."

Emily S. Rash, Mathematics Specialist
Monroe City School District, LA

"An effective coaching model can be a most valuable educational resource when it is used to enhance instructional goals, improve pedagogical practices, and improve student outcomes."

Lucille Sekara, Elementary Principal
Hallen School, Bridgeport, CT

"A welcome resource for the many mathematics coaches who are looking for support in a challenging, often vaguely defined role. From a big picture view of the systems within which math coaches work, to advice about potential pitfalls, to guidance on facilitating change, the book takes on a wide range of topics to help math coaches understand the scope of their work and serve as leaders in whatever form their jobs may take."

Cathy Seeley, Senior Fellow, Charles A. Dana Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Past President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

"The authors show how instructional coaches can be respectful of the teacher's professional status yet instrumental in providing the necessary support that changes teaching practice to yield positive student results. The authors have cracked the code for mathematics coaching by giving clear, concise guidance using self-reflective techniques as well as knowledge of content and teaching experience that translates into expert coaching and meets the diverse needs of classroom teachers."

Miriam E. Melian, Coordinator of Bilingual/ESL Programs
Round Rock ISD, TX

"Useful for those getting started and those refining their coaching practice."

Nicole Miller
Teaching Children Mathematics magazine, November 2010
Key features
  • Presents a comprehensive look at effective mathematics coaching
  • Addresses typical challenges faced by coaches and offers solutions
  • Includes numerous examples and vignettes
  • Aligned to NCTM standards and NCSM principles

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452209272

ISBN: 9781412972642

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