Background: Teaching is comprised of interconnected practices. Some practices are domain neutral (DN), or independent of a content area. Examples of DN practices include emotional and instructional support and classroom organization. Others are domain specific (DS), or content dependent. Within a mathematics context, examples of DS practices include mathematical discourse, tasks, and coherent lessons.
Purpose: Using extant fifth-grade teacher observation data, we investigate the following questions: (1) Do quality DN practices at the start of a fifth-grade school year relate to higher DS practices at the end of the year? (2) Do early, quality DS practices relate to later, higher use of DN practices? Specifically, we investigate relations between emotional support and mathematical discourse, instructional support and mathematical tasks, and classroom organization and mathematical coherence.
Research Design: We use an autoregressive, cross-lagged structural equation model with three time points from a single academic year.
Findings/Results: Results indicated that early levels of high emotional support and classroom organization were associated with later high levels of mathematical discourse and coherence, respectively. Early implementation of demanding tasks was associated with later, higher instructional support.
Recommendations: We discuss implications for professional development and practice. Specifically, we suggest that teachers and instructional coaches consider how DN and DS practices relate to each other in order to boost teachers’ effectiveness.
Keywords: teacher–student interactions, longitudinal relations, mathematics education, elementary schools, instructional practices