As we know, teachers often struggle with Instructional Support—and the focus of their professional development often lands here. While Instructional Support is worth improving, it's also important to remember that ALL interactions can affect child outcomes.
Although we categorize interactions into domains, dimensions, and indicators to better measure and understand them, the heart of the matter is RELATIONSHIPS. Relationships form the foundation for all the interactions that support child outcomes. Interactions happen all the time—whether they’re one-on-one or in groups, between students, or between a teacher and student.
Each moment-to-moment exchange has an outcome. As children watch responses from their teachers, they are learning how to respond themselves. The effectiveness of teacher responses can impact children’s outcomes.
Here are a few glimpses into one child’s day that paint a picture of how interactions can impact child outcomes:
Finally, did you notice how LANGUAGE fits in all of of these interactions?
When you get right down to it, you can see that interactions are built on feelings, guiding, and thinking, and they all start in a moment.
It’s what we DO with those moments that matter!
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
We’re still soaking up the wisdom shared by our many, many excellent speakers at the spring 2021 InterAct Summit. From its inception, Teachstone has been an organization based in research. Because the CLASS is reliable and valid, teachers and programs trust it to give meaningful, accurate, and actionable information. To learn more about the current work being done in the field, we invited co-founder Bob Pianta to give an update on new research findings.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
At Teachstone, we are all in on early learning. The research shows us that, with the help of effective educators, there is so much potential to build a strong foundation for children’s learning well before elementary school. But some research, including the Head Start Impact Study and the research on Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K, has complicated the story. Researchers found that in some cases, gains made in early childhood education seemed to fade out by around third grade.
Follow-up research has added to the narrative.