Have you ever meditated? One of the most challenging aspects of this practice is clearing your mind from day-to-day thoughts that pop into your head. If you meditate, you know that trying to push those thoughts away doesn’t work—in order to free your mind you must first acknowledge those distracting thoughts before you can return to your “moment of zen.”
This might sound funny, but the challenge of conducting objective CLASS observations can be a lot like this. This idea occurred to me a couple months back when I observed an observation training conducted by one of our talented affiliate trainers. She encouraged her participants to keep a sticky note handy during their training videos, and every time a subjective thought or feeling popped in their heads (“I hate this lesson!”), they would write it down and move on. Rather than push it aside, she showed them that the best way to deal with observation bias is to acknowledge you have it—and then intentionally resist the temptation to allow subjective information to influence your scoring.
Taking this a step beyond the observation training and into the field, this is a good strategy for keeping yourself honest, and a fair way to learn more about your own personal biases. So whether you are participating in observation training for the first time, observing in the field, or simply trying to remain objective in any other context—try writing down your bias on a sticky note! Just like when we meditate, we’re more successful when we acknowledge what we are trying to avoid, rather than refusing to admit those thoughts or biases exist.
Observers—we’d love to hear your tips for staying objective in your CLASS observations! Share your expertise and add them to the comments below.
Have you ever wished for a magical power that helped you take notes super effectively while conducting CLASS observations? The kind of magical power that would allow you to capture everything you see and hear without missing a beat? The kind of magical power that paints an exact picture of what happened in the classroom without actually being there? Yeah, me too!
Have you ever thought that the CLASS tool seemed subjective? Perhaps you’ve coded with another certified observer and come up with very different scores for the same classroom? Maybe you’ve struggled with the reliability test or CLASS Calibration and felt that it was due to you seeing the classroom in a different light or interpreting certain situations differently? You’re not alone. Many observers have been there.
CLASS Specialists at Teachstone all take turns providing reliability support to anxious testers. We often see the same mistakes and misconceptions over and over again about how the CLASS works, and as my story below will share, how the behavioral markers fit into the coding process.