Imagine classrooms filled with children who are comfortable taking risks, sharing ideas, and working cooperatively with their peers. Can this become the norm in classrooms across the nation? Yes, because this is what consistent and effective Teacher Sensitivity (TS) cultivates in the classroom. Research tells us that teachers who are aware of and respond to each child, supportively facilitate the ability of all children in the classroom to explore actively and learn.
Teacher Sensitivity is not about how “nice” or “caring” teachers are; rather, it is about how teachers consistently demonstrate awareness and responsiveness to children’s current academic and emotional abilities and needs.
As a coach, enhancing this dimension can be very challenging. TS is inherently a sensitive topic and can easily cause teachers to become defensive. So how can we discuss TS without the conversation becoming too personal or feeling judgmental? Here are some helpful tips:
Genuinely being “in tune” with those that we support and educate is a goal worthy to strive toward every day for both teachers and coaches alike. It supports learners who are able to share their ideas freely and challenge themselves frequently. The most exciting thing is that both teacher and coach sensitivity are behaviors each of us can learn about, practice and perfect. Let’s start today!
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!