A CLASS Observation Training is an interactive, content-packed experience, and even the most enthusiastic participants may find it difficult to think clearly as they gather their notebooks to head home at the end of day two. Of course we understand how busy everyone is leading up to a training, so none of the below is technically required of you to attend the training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give you a framework for the CLASS knowledge you’re about to gain, enriching the experience for you and everyone around you!
This can be a big obstacle to preparedness, and it isn’t always possible to get your materials well in advance of your training. Speak to whoever is organizing your training and see if they can work with you to get your materials. These materials include your CLASS manual, which you’ll use to assign scores after each observation, as well as several other valuable CLASS resources. If you can’t get materials in advance, check out the Teachstone website and all of its free resources. Here are two to get you started:
This clip gives a quick summary of why we’re doing what we do here at Teachstone, and why the CLASS tool can be so valuable to so many children around the world.
The CLASS manual is soon to be your observation bible—you’ll use it to assign scores after each and every CLASS observation you conduct. Check out the first two chapters of your new manual for a research background and overview of the different uses of the tool, as well as for observation protocols and procedures. Much of this information will be covered during the training, but it will be very helpful if you go into the training with a basic understanding of how the tool is to be used.
Next, read through the face pages for each of the CLASS Dimensions. These overviews included definitions and the basic structure of the tool. Each Dimension consists of a series of Indicators, broken down further by a series of Behavioral Markers. These Behavioral Markers are the specific pieces of evidence that you’ll look for as an observer. Behavior Markers are organized by Indicators, which are given a range score of Low, Mid, or High. All the Indicators are taken into consideration to help you score the Dimension on a numerical score between 1 and 7. Don’t worry. You’ll become very familiar with during the course of your CLASS training. But, having a basic understanding of how the tool is put together will make your experience much more beneficial.
After reading through the face pages, the detailed descriptions are up next. Behind the face page for each Dimension is an extensive detailed description of the Low, Mid, and High ranges for each Dimension. Don’t feel like you need to sit down and read these descriptions thoroughly, but the more familiar you become with these descriptions, the faster and more accurate your CLASS coding will be!
Another useful resource available to you prior to the training is online—the CLASS Video Library. This is a collection of short clips that demonstrate Behavioral Marker evidence in real life classrooms. I’d encourage you to watch a couple clips for each Dimension. As you watch the clips, think about how you would capture this evidence of effective teacher-child interactions efficiently and objectively in your own notes if you were conducting an observation.
Everyone is busy leading up to a training, and we don’t have unrealistic expectations! If you show up having done nothing but glance over the Teachstone website, you won’t be left in the dark. Your CLASS trainer is well equipped to bring you up to speed over the course of the 2-day event. However, if you can spend a few minutes beforehand reviewing your material, you’ll find the training to be far more enjoyable, less stressful, and more productive.
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.