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!
CLASS Specialists are always thinking about the complexity of the CLASS tool as we prepare for our trainings. As a trained CLASS observer, I am comfortable observing and recognizing quality interactions that fit in the tool. But I needed a strategy to convey this information to those who may not be as familiar with the tool.
As it turns out, using an analogy is a perfect way to make the complex relatable, less overwhelming, and more familiar to our participants.
When teachers hear CLASS tool, often the first thought that comes to their mind is asking children open-ended questions. And while asking “how” and “why” questions is extremely important in helping to foster and support language and concept development, we cannot have effective interactions with these questions alone. There is so much more to the CLASS tool!