In our previous Behavioral Marker Series post, we focused on the often-misunderstood marker of “Disconnected Negativity.” As a reminder, CLASS behavioral markers are the bulleted lists of concrete examples located under indicators. You will find the indicators listed under each dimension’s face page.
Let’s dive right into our next challenging behavioral marker, “Evaluation.” Evaluation is found under the indicator of “Analysis and Reasoning,” in the dimension of Concept Development.
Evaluation might not get top billing in an indicator that’s full of stars. Analysis and Reasoning is a challenging indicator to observe. The indicator encourages us to listen for thought-provoking, open-ended questions. In the low-range, we often observe the teacher engage in rote teaching strategies.
It’s that time in your training when you are reviewing the Master Code Justifications. You ask for evidence in the dimension of Concept Development. A participant answers, “The teacher evaluated Angela’s work—she told her that she matched all of her numbers in the bowls.”
While that evidence may indeed be present, that description does not fit under Evaluation. A better place for that observation might be in the dimension of Instructional Learning Formats, as the teacher is summarizing Angela’s work. It may also be a good fit for Quality of Feedback, because the teacher gives Angela specific feedback.
In the CLASS tool, Evaluation turns the responsibility to evaluate over to the students. That said, you should be listening for the teacher to ask students to evaluate their work. The students self-evaluate. The teacher gives the students a chance to talk through the activity they completed.
One way a teacher can encourage students to evaluate is by asking them how well they think their small group work went. Another example could be when a teacher asks a third-grade student to summarize the social studies chapter that the class read.
Be proactive about confusing behavioral markers during your training. It helps to prepare a relevant example to use during the dimension introduction. Consider pointing out where the descriptive paragraphs define a behavioral marker like Evaluation. Suggest the participants highlight that section. You may find this simple and quick pre-loading of information makes easier work of the subsequent training video discussions.
How do you describe the behavioral marker, “Evaluation,” in your trainings? What other behavioral markers would you like us to address in this series.
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
As the Community Manager with Teachstone, I have been able to talk to many observers, trainers, coaches, and general CLASS lovers. I have found a common thread among these groups: a desire to connect with other CLASS users and put their CLASS knowledge to use.
We often hear from CLASS Observers that are interested in observing more classrooms. Meanwhile, many organizations—particularly smaller organizations or those doing research studies—don’t have Certified CLASS Observers and are in search of observers in their area.
Hey, sports fans! Don’t you just love watching your favorite players on a big game day, scoring points and making it all look so easy and effortless?
Of course, we know nothing in sports is really effortless, even for gifted athletes with abundant natural talent. One of my favorite quotes comes from NBA All-Star Kevin Durant: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Intentional, consistent practice is key to any athlete’s success. But even top athletes rely on the support of a coach to improve their game. Players need coaches to help identify their unique strengths and grow their talents while increasing their skills in areas of challenge. To do all this, coaches spend lots of time observing athletes while they practice—giving real-time feedback based on current efforts, breaking skills down as needed to cultivate mastery, and encouraging players to keep trying in pursuit of their goals.
Many teachers will agree that their first year of teaching can be one of the most grueling, challenging, and stressful experiences for them as they take on the task of educating our youth. In my first year of teaching, I was not familiar with the CLASS tool and its impact in the classroom. I was not aware of the dimensions, indicators, and the tremendous power of interactions. Looking back, I recognize the many ways the CLASS tool was reflected in my classroom, but I also see the value in how familiarity with the CLASS tool could have benefitted my classroom. Although many external forces impacted my role as a high school Spanish teacher, the CLASS tool’s invaluable purpose could have made a profound impact on my first year teaching.