How can we expect teachers to prepare children for kindergarten when the CLASS dimension, Regard for Student Perspectives (RSP), contradicts some of the very behaviors they need to learn?
This question was recently posed to me by a center director. Specifically, she was referring to certain goals children in her pre-K program were expected to attain in preparation for kindergarten—goals like paying attention to adult-directed tasks for structured periods of time and listening to stories without interrupting. At first glance, with behavioral markers such as “shows flexibility,” “encourages student talk,” and “allows movement,” I could understand why she might assume RSP contradicts these pre-kindergarten goals; however, as someone that studies the CLASS tool nearly every day, I want to challenge this assumption.
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding Regard for Student Perspectives is that it means letting children completely “run the show,” resulting in chaos and a disregard for behavioral expectations. However, effective regard for children should never result in chaos. In fact, teacher behaviors such as setting clear expectations and supporting learning goals can align quite nicely with effective RSP. A close read of the pre-K manual supports this idea:
Regard for Student Perspectives might just be my favorite CLASS dimension. It’s my favorite because it takes children—including their ideas, interests, and even leadership potential—very seriously. Rather than a detriment to kindergarten readiness, effective RSP can support children’s potential as future kindergartens, students, thinkers, and leaders.
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How does the Pre-K CLASS Tool mesh with kindergarten readiness goals in your program? Share your thoughts, challenges, and questions below!
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
I recently heard a great analogy about the CLASS tool and I had to share it. I can’t take credit for the idea. Affiliate Trainer, Teresa Bockes, originated the concept, and I loved it the minute I heard it: CLASS is like a house. Let’s build a house step-by-step to learn more about this metaphor.
Do you ever find it difficult to explain to others what you do as a profession and what CLASS is?
When I was a classroom teacher and people asked me about my job, I could say, “I am a teacher,” and everyone knew exactly what I did. But, when I joined Teachstone and began delivering trainings on the CLASS tool, things seemed to change. I couldn’t answer that question with such a simple answer. Here is a recent conversation I had at an airport where I was asked about what I did for a living.