Source: International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2015, pp. 126-141
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The purpose of this research was to explore perceived roles and responsibilities of professionals providing support for mathematics instruction in a large school district.
The participants were 67 elementary school mathematics coaches, who responsible for overseeing and supporting their school’s elementary mathematics teachers in a large urban school district in the southeastern region of the USA.
They completed a survey that included 30 aspects of the job of elementary school mathematics leaders.
Participants reported differences between current job and desired role.
The elementary mathematics leaders who completed the survey indicated a statistically significant lack of alignment between their current role and their idea of what should be their role as an elementary mathematics leader.
Further, there were statistically significant differences on 24 of the 30 items between coaches’ actual roles and what they thought that their roles should include.
The roles that had the largest discrepancy between roles that elementary mathematics coaches reported that they should have and their actual roles included leading study groups, evaluating educational structures and policies that affect students’ equitable access to high quality mathematics instruction, and using professional resources to inform critical issues related to mathematics teaching and learning. Each of these roles relates to leadership and professional development duties, which coaches feel that should be part of the role, but are currently not part of their job.
This lack of alignment brings to light some of the discrepancies between the aspects of elementary mathematics leaders’ jobs and their ideas on how they can more effectively support mathematics teaching in their school.
The findings indicate a need for school leaders, mathematics leaders (coaches), and classroom teachers to work together to utilize mathematics leaders more effectively so as to best support teachers’ instruction and students’ learning.