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!
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? Everyone in my sample group spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly, but in my random group, the jelly always comes second.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me think about Behavior Guidance, a dimension in the CLASS® toddler observation tool. Especially the first two indicators of behavior guidance: proactive and supporting positive behavior. Proactive is the peanut butter! It goes first. That layer of peanut butter is the base for the jelly, which promotes positive behavior.
I was a kindergarten teacher for eight years at a public school. I loved my job, but somewhere along the road I started to become crotchety. I was often annoyed with my colleagues and frustrated with the demands of the district, and I was sure I knew better than any training or professional development session I would ever be forced to attend.
Shared physical presence is a large part of how we’re used to connecting with each other. Strong connections and relationships are important for children who may have recently experienced loss, high stress, or trauma. As teachers connect with children in a virtual setting, it can be more challenging to think about how to create a safe space for learning, sharing experiences, and taking risks.
When COVID-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But after more than 18 months, it’s clear that the pandemic is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about COVID related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.