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The Fake Friend vs. The Real Friend: Making the Training Material Relatable

14 Mar 2016 by Cierra Johnson

Every time I train, I always try to find ways to make the materials relatable to the participants’ lives, either by telling stories or by giving context to the materials.  Recently, I found a new way to introduce the manual and the trifold: a way to help participants understand the difference between the two.

Almost everyone can relate to friendship. We all have a real friend, and unfortunately we all have a fake friend.

Since I know that a majority of my participants can relate to friendship, I relate the manual and trifold to friendship. I relate the trifold to a fake friend. A fake friend is someone who claims to have your back and says they wants your best interests, but in the end, they let you down because they can’t help you. You may have thought they were a true friend, but when it came to helping you make a hard decision, they are nowhere to be found. A fake friend is only helpful for certain things, but not all things. I tell the participants that the trifold is like a fake friend. The trifold has your back at certain times, but not all the time. A participant may reference the trifold while they are observing, but when it comes to making hard decisions and determining a code, the trifold can’t help because it doesn’t have the descriptive pages, examples or table 2.1, which contains guidelines about how to assign codes. 

The CLASS manual, however, is your real friend, best friend, or “bestie.” Real friends always want the best for you and they will always have your back. The manual is a true friend, in the sense that the manual will always give you an adequate amount of information to help you to determine a code. The manual provides participants with detailed descriptive pages of each indicator, examples of what to look for, and table 2.1 to help make the final decision.

Since I have introduced this concept, participants have come to understand the value and difference of the two materials. We have to give more information than “don’t use the trifold." We have to explain why. The trifold has its benefits, but it can’t ever to be used to determine a code.

When I am done explaining the concept of fake/real friend, I always end with this:

“The trifold is good for when you are observing a classroom and you see a CLASS behavior, but are not sure where it fits. But the manual is what you use when you have to use your observation notes to determine a code for what you saw. Don’t confuse the roles of the two, because when you do, you will see the effects of the choice that you made.”

Have any additional tips on how to explain the differences between the CLASS manual and the dimensions trifold to your CLASS trainees? We'd love to hear your advice- feel free to share your thoughts in the commenting section below!

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