Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Member

Dr. Nicole Bannister, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Lisa C. Benson

Committee Member

Dr. Bob Horton

Committee Member

Dr. Cassie F. Quigley

Committee Member

Dr. Phillip M. Wilder

Abstract

Limited research exists that highlights instructional coaching practices associated with teacher learning, practice, and student learning (McGatha, Davis, & Stokes, 2015; Gibbons & Cobb, 2011). This study investigates coaching as a high-leverage strategy for mathematics teacher learning as a way to contribute to this research base. My study examines one coach's practices with two different teachers in order to respond to questions in the field about the decision-making processes of coaches. More specifically, this study examines how one coach determined which practices to use and the ways in which one coach adapted her practices with teachers. This dissertation seeks to answer the following two research questions: 1) How do instructional coaches interpret and respond to the learning needs of teachers? and 2) In what ways do instructional coaches adapt their practices to the differing learning needs of teachers? A conceptual framework that parallels the Professional Noticing frame set forth by Jacobs, Lamb, and Philipps (2010) served as the lens for this multiple case study. Interview and observational data were collected and explored for the case and discussed in a case analysis. Overall, this study revealed the coach's practices (ways of responding) were directly related to her noticing; the coach noticed what she perceived to be a teacher need (advice relating to content knowledge, classroom management; an understanding of students' point of view), assumed a particular stance, and selected practices believed to encourage teacher growth in those areas. Furthermore, empirical evidence revealed the coach's responses, coaching practices selected, were differentiated between two teachers. In this particular study, the coach offered direct advice more often to the less experienced teacher and while asking the more experienced teacher open-ended questions.

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