Courtney’s passion for working with young children began in high school when she took an Early Childhood course and instantly knew she wanted to become a teacher. Courtney graduated with her bachelor‘s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University. She has worked as an Early Head Start Teacher, MyTeachingPartner (MTP) Coach and Master Coach/Program Director. While working as an MTP coach she was able to become certified in multiple CLASS tools as well as become a CLASS affiliate trainer for the Toddler and Pre-K tools. In her spare time Courtney enjoys going on “junk jaunts” and spending time cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers with her husband and daughter. Favorite Teacher:Ms. Donna Mikesell, High school Math/Swimming Coach
In our previous "Real World Examples" post, we explored Instructional Learning Formats with a little cookie baking fun! For this post, we will move from the kitchen to the great outdoors and study the art of planting to kick-off our final domain, Instructional Support! Instructional Support looks at how we help children learn to solve problems, reason, and think; how teachers use feedback to expand and deepen skills and knowledge; and finally, how teachers help children develop more complex language skills.
In our previous “Real World Examples” post, we focused on Behavior Management. Keeping with the Classroom Organization domain, Productivity is our next dimension of exploration. Looking through the CLASS lens, teachers who are high in productivity have a classroom that work like a well-oiled machine. Everyone is aware of the expectations and how things work in each part of the day. There is little instructional time lost during the day. In real life, we often do not stop to think about what makes a day more or less productive. By being intentional in how we structure our time, we can better understand the benefits of productivity in the classroom.
In the last "Real World Examples" post, we focused on Teacher Sensitivity. Moving on through the CLASS manual, today we will explore Regard for Student Perspectives, the last dimension in the Emotional Support domain. The English Oxford Dictionary defines the word regard as “pay attention to;” for CLASS, this translates to: “pay attention to student perspectives.” When teachers purposefully plan activities and lessons that incorporate students' ideas and interests and allow them opportunities to talk, the children feel like they have a place and ownership in the classroom. The same rings true in day-to-day life—when we welcome others’ perspectives, there are more opportunities for intentional learning.
I had the opportunity to interview teacher Dana McDowell, a Pre-K teacher from Lafayette, Louisiana. During the 2016-17 school year Dana participated in the MyTeachingPartner (MTP) professional development program. By collaborating and engaging in the MTP process with her coach Kaly Barlow, Dana was able to set CLASS-related goals and achieve them by the end of the year. Dana gives great insight into what made the MTP process successful for her.
In the last “Real World Examples” post, we focused on Positive Climate. Moving on through the CLASS manual, today we will explore the dimension of Teacher Sensitivity. When thinking about Teacher Sensitivity, it helps to understand how it plays out in our everyday lives. Throughout any given day, many opportunities present themselves (sometimes the smallest moments) to provide thoughtful and sensitive responses. Supporting those we train to make a connection between everyday experiences and classroom experiences helps make learning the CLASS tool more meaningful and relatable!
Once you have been through CLASS Observation Training, it is hard not to notice interactions everywhere you go! You even start to sort those behaviors into dimensions mentally—at least I know I do! When this happens, it can lead us to our own "ah-ha!" moments when preparing for training and gives us some great examples to use with participants who may be experiencing CLASS for the first time. Being able to connect the tool with a relevant, real world examples helps participants connect new content with something they may have experienced, too!