“This is my favorite training, out of all of them. We get ideas from the training and each other.”
- ECE Teacher who participated in A CLASS Primer for Teachers
“I need to take this back to all the teachers—I mean every teacher should go through this. I thought this was going to be boring, but no … this is so good. Thank you for this.”
- Program Leader who participated in A CLASS Primer for Teachers
If you only had one day to get teachers excited about CLASS, what would you do? We know how important it is to quickly introduce teachers to CLASS. And we know CLASS implementation goes nowhere without teacher buy-in.
The basic idea that began with our work on A CLASS Primer for Teachers is that for educators to really get excited about CLASS, we need to help them:
While we were pretty confident in our idea, it was, after all, just an idea. We needed a training. And it needed to be different from previous efforts that didn’t do enough to get teacher’s excited about CLASS. Since we were approaching a new goal and using increasingly interactive instructional methods, we wanted to test our training and see how it worked for real teachers.
As with any good test, we made sure it wasn’t too easy to pass. We set high standards for learner engagement, satisfaction, demonstration of understanding, likelihood to integrate what they learned, and more.
While showing some promise, the first version of our training failed our test. We had always expected our rough and early version of the training to need improvements. And as we returned to Charlottesville, looking closely at the data we collected from the test, we started to notice patterns, such as sections of the training where engagement lagged and activities during which teachers asked high rates of follow-up questions.
The patterns suggested that the core of the training was solid, but we needed to significantly update some language, facilitation methods, pacing, and materials. We had a lot of work to do. But we were confident we were working on the right things.
As we watched the updated version of A CLASS Primer run through a second test, we were delighted with what we saw. The improvements were paying off, and the teachers and leaders were happy with their experiences.
Teachers found the training “useful in giving language to discuss classroom interactions” and an opportunity to feel “connected with others who are involved in the care of children.” They were engaged, thoughtful, and left with intentions to both continue learning and to apply what they’d already learned.
A CLASS Primer for Teachers is a simple, fun, and effective way to get teachers genuinely excited about CLASS. It makes CLASS language accessible and CLASS strategies approachable.
Teachstone has been working hard for the past few months to provide you with case studies about various organizations who have transformed their classrooms through the use of the CLASS tool. We hope they help readers like you make informed decisions about some of the products we offer and introduce you to different ways you can impact teacher-student interactions.
On August 1 I joined Teachstone as Chief Impact Officer. If my name sounds familiar, it may be because I am one of the authors of the CLASS and a co-founder, with Bob Pianta, of Teachstone. For the last 20 years, I’ve spent my days researching ways teachers can best support children’s and adolescents’ development and learning. I’ve conducted many studies, written many papers, and trained doctoral and post-doctoral candidates who have gone on to do even more and better work in this area. Most of those 20 years I’ve worked at the University of Virginia’s Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) and have had the privilege of working with incredible colleagues at UVA and elsewhere. Honestly, it’s a dream job: getting paid to think, write, and travel to talk about our work and find inspiration in the ideas of others. So, not surprisingly, when I tell people about my new job, I get a lot of quizzical looks.