We all know that coaches and teachers have many time constraints when working to provide high quality care for young children. We designed myTeachstone to help address time issues by providing numerous and varied resources on effective interactions that allow for meaningful professional development with less face-to-face time.
Even with all of the fantastic resources, however, it can take time for coaches to create discussions that focus and promote teacher growth.
The good news is that myTeachstone resources include built-in content to make engaging teachers in effective discussion even easier. This blog series will take you through this content and provide tips for its use.
Part 1: Using "Look Fors"
We define "Look Fors" as the text you see when you hover your mouse over the video, as shown in the image below.
In this example, let's think about how teachers keep children focused during center time. Check out this myTeachstone video, Itsy Bitsy Dog (we will keep coming back to this resource for this series).
For now, ignore all of the look fors and CLASS dimensions. Just watch the video and pay attention to:
There are numerous answers to these two questions. The children are learning about a variety of subjects including care for pets, how stores work, the difference between small and large quantities/sizes, how to collaborate with others, etc. In terms of first impressions, you might notice how great it is that the teacher is sitting on the floor with the children or you might notice the mix of open- and closed-ended questions.
I ask you to think about these observations to remind us of the importance of learning objectives and lenses. Look fors help teachers understand these two ideas. Let’s dig deeper.
While it is difficult to ignore first impressions, it is important to understand that they are there and how they affect learning. It is fine for teachers to have a different lens, but this can sometimes make conversation more difficult. Look fors can help create a common lens and language for you and the teachers to use when discussing effective interactions. They can also help to minimize some of the distraction that our individual lenses might create.
To close, here are a few tips for using the look fors:
What about you? How have you used the look fors? In what ways do they enhance teacher learning?
In the coming days, please "look for" my next post in this series, which will focus on using the charts in myTeachstone to facilitate teachers' learning!
Being an instructional coach or mentor is difficult. Sometimes it may feel like you don't have any support—especially when it comes to providing effective feedback to the teachers you work with. Have you, as a coach, ever asked yourself any of the following questions?
CLASS Specialists are always thinking about the complexity of the CLASS tool as we prepare for our trainings. As a trained CLASS observer, I am comfortable observing and recognizing quality interactions that fit in the tool. But I needed a strategy to convey this information to those who may not be as familiar with the tool.
As it turns out, using an analogy is a perfect way to make the complex relatable, less overwhelming, and more familiar to our participants.