Exploring an alignment focused coaching model of mathematics professional development: content of coach/teacher talk during planning and analyzing lessons



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This exploratory case study examines an alignment-focused coaching model of mathematics professional development during a school district's second-year implementation of the coaching model. Specifically, the study describes the content of coach-teacher talk as five coach-teacher pairs, grades K-8, engage in planning and analyzing mathematics lessons. Using an alignment framework designed around the components of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to analyze talk, four patterns unfold. Issues of curriculum, instruction, and assessment were more often discussed in isolation than interconnected, mathematics was most often the content focus when teacher and/or coach were using the state standards document to plan, student thinking and learning were most often a focus when students were struggling, and teachers often talked about instruction as actions isolated from student thinking and learning. In addition, teachers reported changes to instruction as an outcome of participating in coaching. Self-reported benefits to teachers' practice included planning lessons that focused on student learning, that is, considering the mathematics in the standards and ways students would learn the content. Teachers also reported asking "better questions" more often and in different ways, using models such as manipulatives and representations for connecting mathematics ideas, thinking more about student learning, and analyzing and scrutinizing textbooks to align with the state standards.