In January, I interviewed certfied MMCI Instructor Ashley Forde Moreau about her experiences with the CLASS. Learn about her journey with CLASS, facilitating MMCI trainings, and the importance of "ah ha" moments.
I'm originally from Houston, Texas, and my professional background is in Elementary Education. I've taught Kindergarten and 1st and 4th grade math/science. During my experiences as an elementary school teacher, I discovered how important it is to build an academic foundation with children in their earliest formative years. As an Infant/Toddler coach and MMCI Instructor, I have the opportunity to stress the importance of the role of early childhood educators in young children’s lives. And how their interactions help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners.
It’s been a wonderful journey. The teachers and providers I’ve worked with have had a wide range of experiences in the classroom. Our discussions allowed for meaningful and intentional conversations about their daily interactions with children. I enjoyed being able to shift their thinking in using the CLASS as a resource rather than just as an assessment tool. After learning more about the research and rationale behind CLASS, I know that they’ll focus on creating the best experiences and interactions with the children they serve.
The first challenge was to shift their perception of the CLASS tool. Yes, it’s used to observe teachers but, more importantly, it’s used as a learning tool. The SEE and KNOW sections of the CLASS Manual helped participants gain a deeper understanding of the tool. The Impact videos really allowed the discussions and “ah ha” moments to come to life. “Ah ha” moments are where the magic happens!
During one of the first sessions, the teachers were watching the infant videos. One of the participants remarked how amazing the teacher was and how exhausting it must be to do so much talking and interacting. By session 6, they shared that they were now talking to the infants in their care. Because of MMCI, they realized it WAS possible to interact with children like the teacher in the video.
That “ah ha” was a huge moment because she also admitted that, at first, she didn’t see how her talking more would help infants. After going through MMCI training she realized how just how important conversations between infants and adults are for infant development.
My goal was to stress that the CLASS lens is not about perfection, it’s about seeing your own strengths in the work that you do.
While preparing for a recent presentation on "My CLASS Philosophy," I had many thoughts running through my head. There was no firm agenda that I was asked to follow, just to share my philosophy. Coming from a business background, I did what I have been trained to do—a SWOT Analysis. According to Wikipedia, a SWOT Analysis or SWOT matrix is:
In our previous "Real World Examples" post, we explored Instructional Learning Formats with a little cookie baking fun! For this post, we will move from the kitchen to the great outdoors and study the art of planting to kick-off our final domain, Instructional Support! Instructional Support looks at how we help children learn to solve problems, reason, and think; how teachers use feedback to expand and deepen skills and knowledge; and finally, how teachers help children develop more complex language skills.
If you're a CLASS observer, you've probably found yourself in a situation where you have to make inferences or rely on contextual evidence when assigning scores. However, it should always be your goal to minimize subjectivity and assumptions. You have to prevent your emotions, opinions, and ideas that are not a part of the CLASS tool from influencing scoring. Achieving an emotionless state of objectivity while observing can be incredibly challenging. It takes practice to recognize when objectivity is threatened and respond accordingly.