UE? CLASS-S? You may not be aware that there are CLASS observation tools and supports for use at the Upper Elementary and Secondary School levels. I’ve facilitated quite a few trainings at these levels and am excited to see them being used more widely. Most people I meet in the process find the upper-level tools aligned with school-wide initiatives, best practices, and their own sense of what good teaching looks like.
One of the powerful things about the CLASS system is its impact across the continuum of ages and stages. With the recent introduction of the infant observation tool, the CLASS continuum now goes from birth through high school. We’ve probably all had situations where we hoped for better communication among colleagues and across agencies at all levels. Systemic use of CLASS promotes this. The CLASS focus is always on effective classroom interactions, but the specific “look-fors” vary by developmental level.
The Upper Elementary and Secondary CLASS frameworks share the pre-K and K-3 domains, but there are differences in dimensions, indicators, and behavioral markers. Of particular note, Instructional Support dimensions are more differentiated and tailored to older students. Dimensions such as Content Understanding, Analysis & Inquiry and Instructional Dialogue increase cognitive demand. Another difference at the upper levels is the dimension of Student Engagement. It stands alone—not categorized under one of the three domains. There are a dozen dimensions in all.
We often talk about parallel process in terms of how CLASS relates to our own work with adults—as a trainer or coach. The upper level CLASS dimensions and descriptions really hit home when it comes to thinking about our own practice. It’s not a huge leap from UE and Secondary CLASS concepts to our interactions with colleagues. More than a few college professors at the observation trainings have reported back about their own heightened awareness of effective interactions with their adult students.
As a growing number of schools use the UE and Secondary CLASS, don’t be surprised to hear more educators talking about the CLASS tool—and talking to each other across ages and stages about interactions that matter.
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.
Teachstone continues to fulfill the important role of supporting Spanish-speaking partners who implement CLASS in their programs and communities. In an effort to strengthen our reach to this key base, Teachstone recently hosted a regional conference in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The regional conference offered several CLASS trainings in Spanish as well as translation services for English trainings. Trainings were held from November 4–8 at the headquarters and facilities of Camera Mundi Inc. Camera Mundi is the largest and most comprehensive provider of products, equipment, materials, and services to the educational sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.