Scenario: During a lesson on animals, children sit in assigned spots in a circle. The teacher asks, “How many of you have pets at home?” A few children raise their hands, and the teacher asks each of them to say what kind of pet they have and the pet’s name. The teacher then hands out cards featuring different animals. The children watch as the teacher calls on children to come to the middle of the circle and act out their animal. After each demonstration, they have the chance to guess the featured animal.
I’m very excited to go to the Zero to Three National Training Institute next week in Texas. I’ve never been before, and I hear that it’s an energizing and inspiring conference. I’m especially excited for Nathan Fox’s plenary session on the developing brain. Dr. Fox is an amazing researcher who studies temperament and individual differences in infancy.
We spend a lot of time at Teachstone thinking about teachers—pre-service teachers just starting to learn about classroom interactions and in-service teachers who have years of experience but are looking for ways to improve their practices. We ask ourselves questions like, “What do teachers need to implement effective interactions in their classrooms?” and “How can we support such behavioral change in teachers?”
It’s fall in Charlottesville and officially sweater weather at the Teachstone offices. As a native New Yorker, I should be accustomed to the cold, but I can’t help but practice a few weeks of denial each year, wearing sandals and sundresses several weeks into October. All begrudging aside, one of the best things to do this time of year is to go hiking, and here in Charlottesville, we’re fortunate to call the Blue Ridge Mountains our neighbors!
We are excited to have Sara Beach guest blog for us today. As a former Teachstone Staff Trainer, she frequently presented on topics such as Helping Teachers with the Instructional Supports, through active, adult-learning approaches. She has been an Infant-toddler teacher, center director, education specialist, coach-mentor, and early childhood college instructor, and her highest honor has been supporting teachers.
When I went through the Pre-K CLASS Observation training, I struggled scoring the Instructional Support (IS) domain. I generally gave higher scores than the master coders … but why? I saw a ton of interactions and conversations; however, after lengthy discussions, it was determined that the interactions were actually quite low-level and did not truly promote higher-order thinking. In the end, I was giving too much weight to the more rote IS interactions. I am hearing that I am not the only one, so I wanted to highlight this issue and discuss it further.
A dear friend once told me, "The best phrase you can use in marriage is ‘You may be right.’” And she was absolutely correct! In today’s world, we are surrounded by those who are quick to share advice across a variety of experiences—life advice, relationship advice, career advice, funny advice, and sometimes absolutely irrelevant advice! There are times that we seek advice out and times that advice is freely offered to us. With advice from so many different sources, including our family, friends, colleagues, and social media, the challenge may be deciding what advice to follow.