Extend Your Instructional Skills with Coaching

by Math Solutions Professional Learning Team, November 20th, 2015

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When Luke wanted to become a Jedi, he sought Yoda. When Rocky needed to win his matches, he trained with Apollo. Everyone who has incredible skill wasn’t born that way – he or she learned from another person. These examples are just a few instances of famous characters seeking improvement by working with a trainer. And while you may not need to get in touch with the Force or become the next great boxer, you can hone your instructional and pedagogical knowledge with guidance from a coach.

“Math coaches exist to support students’ mathematics learning.”

Helping your students sharpen their mathematics reasoning skills and use solid thinking can contribute to success in the classroom. Targeting these areas is at the heart of Math Solutions coaching. One-on-one support through development training can deepen and extend your professional learning and enhance your knowledge and experience as a math instructor. Essentially, it is the duty of coaching to ultimately impact student learning through your pedagogical proficiency. Here’s a little more information about math coaching:

The goal of a math coach

While math coaches can go by different titles and provide varying levels of support and guidance, they all have similar goals. Math coaches support teachers and educators by deepening their math content and pedagogical knowledge, which leads to increased student achievement in math.

By giving educators the tools they need to understand the subject they teach and pass on their knowledge to students, coaches provide teachers with a rich and effective math education. Coaches design their course using district goals and student work. Coaches and teachers work collaboratively on setting and meeting goals to improve teaching skills and student learning.

The benefits of coaching

If the goal of math coaching is to improve instruction and ultimately help students learn, how then do those changes occur? Coaching has a variety of benefits that can help shed light on how teachers and instructors work toward meeting their goals:

Identify areas for improvement

Every math teacher has his or her own set of strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, each individual can benefit from working one-on-one with a coach. This approach provides you with specific information on how you can improve your instruction and strategies for doing so. You’ll work collaboratively with a coach who observes your classroom and creates district-wide goals to develop a roadmap for professional development.

Get new ideas

Working with another person exposes you to new ideas, and in math education, that means seeing alternative instructional methods in practice. Perhaps you’ll learn teaching methods you hadn’t considered, allowing you to expand your pedagogical knowledge.

Deepened content knowledge

Knowing the subject you teach is imperative for getting the information across to students. By working with another individual, you can extend your expertise. Strong content knowledge and solid pedagogical skills together can help you deepen student learning outcomes.

a row of multiracial students at desks with equations on a chalkboard behind them

Helping students understand mathematics is the goal of math coaching.

Math Solutions coaching

With a variety of coaching services available, Math Solutions offers plenty of ways to extend your instructional development. Math Solutions will work with you, your school and any leadership teams to customize a coaching program that has the greatest possible impact. Math Solutions understands the importance following a coaching plan. As such, we use blended coaching models to effectively meet the needs of districts, schools and individual educators. What’s more, Math Solutions can develop internal coaching expertise – that way, your teacher leaders and staff coaches can continue to support one another and their students.

When it comes to one-on-one coaching, you’ll have an ally and guide to help you develop professionally. Working with another person, as it occurs in coaching and co-teaching, gives you a totally new perspective and individualized instruction.

Additionally, Math Solutions coaches exhibit these qualities and behaviors:

  • They develop strong relationships with the educators they coach.
  • They act as a co-teacher, working with the classroom instructor.
  • Offer strategies specific to the teacher’s or classroom’s needs.
  • Provide ongoing opportunities to work with other teachers, utilize the skills they learn and reflect on instruction.
  • Encourage teachers to share what they learned with their peers.

Learning through teaching

Teaching is one of the most effective ways to learn, and you may be able to improve your skills through coaching. Whether you pass on the knowledge and strategies you developed with Math Solutions onto other teachers in your school or branch out to help in your district, becoming a coach may hone your instructional approach. After all, you’ll see what works in other classrooms and apply it to your own.

Of course, instructing adults can be different than teaching kids, which is why Math Solutions provides tools and resources for effective coaching. “The Math Coach Field Guide” provides valuable insight into coaching math teachers, and it may help you develop instructional strategies.

Math teachers and coaches alike can fine-tune their pedagogical approaches with the help of others and Math Solutions resources. From our book to our coaching services to our free resources newsletter, use our resources to enter the new school year prepared.


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