Expert Response


High School: Writing Equations

Imagine a coaching conversation

clip One approach for conducting a post-observation coaching conversation, adapted from the Santa Cruz New Teacher Center, starts with the coach asking the teacher who has been observed some version of the question, “What do you think was successful in that lesson?” After giving the teacher time and encouragement to think along those lines, the coach then turns to “What challenges or concerns do you have?”

Here is one possible conversation, when the coach calls the teacher’s attention to her follow-up when a student gave an answer that was incorrect.

Coach: I noticed that you encouraged the first student by saying that her answer was “90%,” but then she couldn’t come up with the rest of the equation. Tell me what you were thinking then.
Teacher: I thought she’d get the rest, because what she came up with was the hard part. I think it’s tricky when that happens. I don’t always know how long to wait and I felt like I had given her a big hint when I said it was an expression. I thought she would get it. The other student did.
Coach: The other student did get it. You’re right. I was wondering about the first student…
Teacher: I, uh, I don’t know. Oh. I never went back to her. I don’t’ know if she knows the answer or not. Is that a good thing to do? Go back and check with a kid who answered incorrectly?
Coach: What do you think? How might that play out?

clipCompare your observations to what some other coaches noticed in this segment.

What went well?

The teacher had a positive, calm demeanor.

There seemed to be good rapport among the students.

The teacher had clearly established routines, such as the countdown to attention, and the students responded well.

She kept her focus while she waited for student attention when she used the signals.

She reminded students of the content of the lesson and the scaffolding, “a hint,” that was on the board.

The teacher used a good wait time strategy: she asked the question, waited and repeated the question before she called on a student volunteer.

She was accepting of student answers. Even when the student was not totally correct, the teacher acknowledged the effort for as far as it went and tried to scaffold the rest of the answer.

She used student responses as prompts to other questions.

What were some concerns?

When the student gave “only an expression, not an equation,” the teacher should have used more questions to reinforce the difference between an expression and an equation.

After guiding other students to complete the equation, it would have been good to go back to the first student to make sure she had established the difference between an expression and an equation and could give the whole equation.