We recently received an email from an observer who had just completed his K-3 recertification and had some difficulty with Teacher Sensitivity. He stated that he was uncertain how to code the indicator of Addresses Problems if the students do not appear to have difficulties. He wondered if he needed to be more attentive to minor signs of awareness and responsiveness. If you've ever wondered that yourself or have had a trainee ask you that question, read on to see our response.
Teacher Sensitivity looks at how aware and responsive teachers are to students’ moment-to-moment cues that they are having difficulty, either academically or socially. The cues could be as minor as a student not picking up a pencil to start a writing assignment (could mean that the student is unclear on the directions), or a student withdrawing from a group discussion after another student teased her for her contribution to the conversation. We have a tendency to look for really big problems—two students not getting along or a student having a meltdown because he can’t figure out how to work a math problem.
Of course, is is possible to have a 20-minute observation cycle where there aren’t any "big problems," but generally, if you watch closely, you’ll see small signs that a student is having difficulty (student pauses while reading out loud because he cannot figure out how to decode a work, another student riffling through all of the papers in his desk searching for his homework, etc.). You would pick these up under Addresses Problems in Teacher Sensitivity.
Sometimes there really are no problems or potential problems are dealt with, so effectively they are never manifested. Awareness and responsiveness will reflect the efficacy of addressing problems. This is a good example of how the indicators affect each other. They don't really stand alone, rather work in tandem to help us decide where on the scale a dimension scores.
What other questions do you have about Teacher Sensitivity? Let us know in the comment section below!
Thank you to Mary Margaret Gardiner for her contributions this post.
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.