Master Math Coach Helps CSULB Profs

For the first time, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at California State University Long Beach will have a master teacher in residence. Sandi Machit, an exemplary math coach from the Long Beach Unified School District Math Office, will begin this fall to teach CSULB students and faculty some of the most effective ways to teach math. She will become a teacher of teachers of teachers. "We are very pleased to have an accomplished teacher like Sandi involved," said Glenn Nagle, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "She comes very highly recommended." Machit will serve as a guest lecturer in college math courses for aspiring elementary teachers, modeling her expert delivery of math content. She will also teach an Introduction to Education course and develop and present workshops for CSULB faculty on teaching math. The former undergraduate liberal studies major traces her own interest in the subject to those same math courses. "Those courses turned me on to math," said Machit. "I was getting instruction about math that went beyond what I had ever had before. It wasn't just arithmetic. It was more conceptual and it inspired me to research and experiment in my own teaching." While she was presenting a workshop last May for teachers to give them additional techniques, CSULB math department chair Art Wayman dropped in. He wanted to see how Machit used pre- and post-assessments to determine what she would teach them and how effective she was. Wayman was impressed by her excellent techniques and by the amount of information Machit was able to pass along to teachers in a single day's session. Choosing her to become the university's master teacher in residence was the next logical step. "Art strongly recommended her," said Nagle. "He said, 'This is the teacher we need for this program.'" She will be responsible for helping one of the most influential teacher preparation institutions on the West Coast teach new teachers how to teach math successfully to students. Funding for her post comes from a $2.4 million National Science Foundation grant for the Long Beach Elementary Science/Math Teacher Education Partnership, an outgrowth of the Long Beach Education Partnership that involves as partners both Long Beach City College and Cerritos College.