Thursday, August 23, 2012

Teaching Students to (Math) Coach

One of my goals this year is to help students learn how to support, teach, and coach each other.

I have seated students in groups of four to encourage interaction. I am not sure why it took me so long, but I know this is what it will take to get students talking about math. I envision students asking and answering each other's questions and genuinely caring about whether or not the person across the table is understanding.

I realize that getting there will be a process.

I used this video today, to introduce what good coaching looks like:

Then we made a list of evidence from the video that demonstrates good coaching:

1. Make a choice to help. You could laugh at someone's struggle, or you could choose to offer your help.

2. Don't let someone quit, even if they want to quit. Lift the microphone and insist that they keep trying.

3. Be supportive without taking over. Let the other person do the work.

4. Anyone can offer help. Don't wait until you think you understand it perfectly yourself.

5. Stay until the end. Cheer.

My students really empathized with the girl in the video, and I think this analogy hit home with them. I am hopeful it is the beginning of a coaching culture in my classroom.


  1. I love this, Amy! I've added video to my favorites already and will do the same. So cool. So important. Thank you!

  2. The national anthem isn't my favorite thing, but yep. I was moved. How gut-wrenchingly terrifying to be in her position. He got her going again. Nice list your students made.

  3. Love this! Thinking of using it, also. Your kids' analysis of good coaching is exactly on point. Thanks for sharing.,

  4. MARVELOUS way to have students analyze and identify what good coaching looks like AND realize that they care! I love this. Will "steal" it with my chemistry students.

  5. It's been awhile since I saw this video. Thanks for sharing your ideas for using it in the classroom. Will definitely think about using it with our peer tutors.

  6. Beautiful. That is coaching at it's best. I'm tearing up just watching it. Thank you so much for everything that I steal from you....including this post!!

  7. Stealing this idea, like I do everything you else you come up with.

  8. I just emailed your post to my whole math department. The brainstorm list your students came up with is really moving.