Page 15 - FIS World October 2018
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 and learn other instructional practices and methods that can improve student learning. Through learning about new practices and strategies, we can achieve our ultimate goal of improving student learning and increase student engagement in mathematics.”
During a recent classroom visit, Ms. Sharma introduced Grade 2 students to concepts of addition and regrouping in addition through an open-ended task. The customized lesson not only provided students with an opportunity to practice their addition skills, but the modeling of the lesson – in real time and in front of the homeroom teacher – also provided new ideas and methods for the teacher to pursue on their own. Coaching doesn’t necessarily have to follow a traditional “one-on-one” format; modeling and leading by example are helpful techniques, too.
Across divisions, the reason for coaching is the same – to help make the teaching and learning at FIS even better. As Assistant Head of School Devin Pratt explains, “In order to learn we need to be reflective. We have found that some of the best professional development occurs when we’re working with consultants who routinely visit our school. For example, over the past few years, we’ve brought in teacher educators from Columbia University to work with our faculty in exploring and practicing teaching methods, and then offering coaching on them. The relationship aspect of that kind of individualized professional development is so much more powerful than just attending a workshop. What we’re doing at FIS by introducing the coaching model is helping already strong teachers capitalize on those kind of relationships to grow professionally.”
Math coaches have been added in the Primary and Elementary divisions to help improve instructional practices in mathematics and enhance student learning.
New math coach, Doug Iseri, who is working with teachers and students at FISW, reflects this in his own coaching work by helping teachers leverage their strengths through collaborative planning and co-teaching. “In addition to helping plan sessions for our recent professional development in September, I’ve been working with small groups of teachers at FISW to provide a secondary perspective on differentiation,” he said. “And I’ve also begun the process of helping implement
some new interactive and dynamic math software into their curriculum.”
In the Upper School, instructional coaches Robin Neal and Tony Winch, are working with teachers across subject areas and grade levels. “We see our role as building upon teachers’ strengths and helping them to unlock their potential,” says
Mr. Winch. “The response so far has been resound- ingly positive, and many of our colleagues have been eager to make use of the unique and personalized professional development that coaching can offer.”
As well as visiting classrooms and focusing on elements of teaching and learning as specified by the teacher, the school’s new coaches have been working with groups of teachers during common planning time as well. Being involved in all aspects of what teachers are doing to deliver a top-notch education not only helps coaches better understand the ways in which they might lend support, but will ultimately help establish that important “culture of coaching” within the school.
In the end, coaching is all about working toward a preferred future. For Serena Williams that future is to continue to win titles. For FIS, it is to continue being the leading international school and inspiring individuals to develop. In both cases, the coach has a significant role to play.
Ricky Donnelly
FIS World Staff Writer
Math coaching in the lower divisions extends beyond teachers and includes work with students
as evidenced in
a recent lesson delivered by instructional coach, Sarika Sharma (above)
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