Think back to when you were new to CLASS. Really try to remember the details of those early days. Most of us had some pretty strong reservations, but we just forged ahead anyway. We had to. The CLASS seemed like just another assessment in a long line of new things to have to learn in an already-impossible work schedule.
Now, think about when you turned a corner and started to trust the CLASS tool. Try to recall the specifics of when you began to overturn your resistance toward CLASS. What was your "click" moment? For me, it was finally doing live observations. I went into those first observations not believing I could code in 10 minutes, much less believing that I could see (or not) all 10 dimensions in every cycle. Lo and behold, there it all was (or not)! You could have knocked me over with a feather. Learning that CLASS really worked in live classrooms was a huge turning point for me.
Still, there was an even deeper issue for me to overcome. I was fast becoming sold on the tool’s value, but I hadn't yet seen the depth of how CLASS embraced my core value system about children. Even with all my years of training, observing, and working with teachers, I still couldn't see the connection. At first, CLASS didn’t seem to think the same way I did. My trust in the tool evolved over time as I understood the tool with more insight. Once, when I had some concerns about a teacher, I stepped back after I coded and looked at all the scores as a whole picture. I saw that my concerns were not all in Behavior Management or Negative Climate (the place everyone puts them), but there were the low scores in Positive Climate, Teacher Sensitivity, etc. Oh! There was my value system intact, laid out in all 10 dimensions- not just where I was used to putting it.
In her recent blog post, 6 Facilitation Tips for Challenging Training Videos, Staff Trainer Sherilyn Crump goes over how hard it is for trainees to maintain objectivity during some of the harder videos in the training. I think that post is incredibly helpful for us trainers. The process of learning to maintain objectivity while coding relates so well to the mental shift it takes for trainees to trust the tool, to want to adopt the CLASS lens, and to overcome their habits and resistance.
Here are some trainer tips to help your trainees begin their trust in the CLASS:
Let your passion shine, it is all so very hopeful.
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When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.