Steps to self-reliance

Coaching process strengthens math students' confidence

By Learning Forward
December 2019
Vol. 40, No. 6
All teachers of mathematics want to know that our teaching is causing students to develop deep and lasting understanding of math concepts, fluency with mathematical procedures, competence in solving problems, and a positive relationship with mathematics. Unfortunately, the relationship between teaching and learning is not always clear. The dynamics of a classroom are complex, making it difficult to know which teaching moves lead to specific student outcomes. When we try to link our teaching to students’ learning, we may feel we are looking into a black box, a space containing countless elements that may or may not positively affect student achievement (Black & Wiliam, 2010). Through deliberate reflection, however, we can examine the influence of specific teaching practices on student learning outcomes (Huinker & Bill,

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Sue Chapman and Mary Mitchell

Sue Chapman ( is an adjunct instructor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a professional learning consultant at Math Solutions. Mary Mitchell ( is a lead instructional designer at Math Solutions.


Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (2010, September). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), 81-90.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Huinker, D. & Bill, V. (2017). Taking action: Implementing effective mathematics teaching practices. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Killion, J. (2008). Assessing impact: Evaluating staff development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (2014). Principles to actions: Ensuring mathematical success for all. Reston, VA: Author.

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