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4 Ways To Help Your Trainees Prepare For CLASS Observation Training

12 Jan 2017 by Daniel LaCava

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! 

Try to Distribute the Training Materials in Advance

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:

Encourage Trainees to Watch the Interactions Matter Video

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.

Ask Participants to Read the Manual (if you are able to distribute materials early!) 

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.  

Encourage Participants to Watch the Video Library

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.  

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