This month, I had a chance to interview MMCI Instructor, Shawn Kaplan. In her time as an MMCI Instructor so far, she has facilitated an impressive number of teacher cohorts, impacted CLASS scores, and has some insightful reflections for new instructors.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background in Early Childhood Education.
I have been in the ECE field for 21 years--that's a long time! My professional journey has provided me with a range of opportunities from classroom teacher up through directorship for an infant through pre-K program. The highlight of my career, by far, has been getting introduced to CLASS and using this knowledge to coach teachers in a variety of programs across California.
Tell me about your experience with MMCI and your journey in becoming a certified instructor.
As with much of life, I was in the right place at the right time and had an opportunity to attend MMCI training with Jacquelynn, from Teachstone. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for; however, the colleague who told me about it had me at "CLASS." I didn’t even understand that the training would prepare me to become an instructor until the end of my first training day! Once I completed the training, I was more in love with CLASS than ever before. I was also at a great loss: How was I going to ever find enough teachers to train to achieve my certification? Thankfully, it all worked out, and then some.
What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating MMCI and how did you overcome them?
My first challenge was figuring out the content, slides, and pacing of the teacher training I had to deliver. Session one went well over time and I quickly realized I needed to pick up the pacing and make detailed notes by the minute. Another challenging aspect was that I started off conducting four MMCI cohorts per week; one on Wednesday and three on Friday. This meant I had just one day in between to reflect and smooth out any bumps. Because of my schedule, I overcame these challenges through trial and error. When a session went well, I learned to repeat the same flow for the next groups later in the week. And when I had to adjust on the spot, I did!
Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of MMCI? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?
I have seen several successes over the course of delivering ten MMCI-teacher cohorts. Here of some of my favorite responses to MMCI:
I am also incredibly proud to have been part of a larger project that included MMCI and has received data showing that the teachers who completed my cohorts impacted score changes, raising the bar on the national average across all CLASS domains.
What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI?
My biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI (so far) is the powerful impact you can make as a facilitator on your teachers. By engaging in parallel process and adjusting each session to meet the specific needs of your group through relatable examples--you can make a huge difference in their teaching practices and in the lives of the children in their classrooms.
As coaches, we've all encountered resistant teachers. Resistance to coaching can take many forms. You might encounter a teacher who is direct, making it clear they don't want your help. Or a teacher who is passive, putting off your meetings and recommendations, or acting like they're open to coaching but never actually changing their behavior. While this can be frustrating, you shouldn’t assume the teacher is to blame.
Teachstone continues to fulfill the important role of supporting Spanish-speaking partners who implement CLASS in their programs and communities. In an effort to strengthen our reach to this key base, Teachstone recently hosted a regional conference in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The regional conference offered several CLASS trainings in Spanish as well as translation services for English trainings. Trainings were held from November 4–8 at the headquarters and facilities of Camera Mundi Inc. Camera Mundi is the largest and most comprehensive provider of products, equipment, materials, and services to the educational sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.