As trainer, you know that the 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 trainees before they attend your training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give you a framework for the CLASS knowledge they are about to gain, enriching the experience for each participant and the group as a whole!
This can be a big obstacle to preparedness, and it isn’t always possible to get materials distributed to your participants in advance of your training. Speak to customer support and arrange payment as early as possible to get those materials shipped with time to spare. Participant materials include the CLASS manual, which participants will 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 send participants some free resources to peruse. 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 pretty much the observation bible—trainees will use it to assign scores after each and every CLASS observation they conduct. It's probably not realistic to ask participants to read the manual cover-to-cover before your training, but you might ask participants to check out the first two chapters for a research background and overview of the different uses of the tool, as well as for observation protocols and procedures. Although much of this information is covered during your training, it always helps when trainees enter the training with a basic understanding of the tool.
Another useful resource available to trainees 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. Ask participants to watch a couple clips for each Dimension in the days leading up to your training. As they watch the clips, guide them think about how they would capture this evidence of effective teacher-child interactions efficiently and objectively in their own notes if they were conducting an observation.
Everyone is busy leading up to a training (especially, YOU, the trainer!), and we don’t have unrealistic expectations! If a trainee shows up having done nothing but glance over the Teachstone website, she won’t be left in the dark. As a trainer, you are well equipped to bring participants up to speed over the course of the 2-day event. However, if you can persuade participants to spend a few minutes beforehand reviewing information, they will find the training to be far more enjoyable, less stressful, and more productive.
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.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.