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The Power of CLASS Group Coaching

04 Apr 2019 by Andrew Hopun

Group coaching has been proven to be effective at improving the quality of teaching. In group settings, teachers can motivate each other and learn from one another’s experiences. Coaches have a unique opportunity of building rapport within their cohort of teachers and supporting their growth.

Teachstone offers a group coaching program called CLASS Group Coaching, formerly Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI). As one of the instructional designers who has had the privilege of working on this program, I wanted to share what the experience looks like for teachers and coaches.

What is CLASS Group Coaching?

CLASS Group Coaching is a coach training and teacher professional development program designed to help teachers improve their quality of teaching. We currently offer the program at the Infant/Toddler, Pre-K, and K-3 age levels.

Who do we recommend CLASS Group Coaching for?

We recommend this program for organizations that are looking to build foundational CLASS knowledge throughout their teacher population. This program is also recommended for organizations that are looking to build a coaching structure to support teacher growth in their organization.

What do teachers do?

Teachers attend a series of 12 two-hour, face-to-face sessions led by a coach. In these sessions, teachers will:

  • learn the importance of effective teaching
  • get to know each of the CLASS domains and dimensions of teaching
  • get to see what each dimension looks like in a classroom
  • plan to practice effective teaching

Between each session, teachers will practice effective teaching in their classroom and engage with online resources to deepen their learning of the CLASS domains and dimensions.

When teachers return to each session, they will reflect on their practice with their coach and peers in a group discussion. This not only helps teachers hold one another accountable to practice between sessions, it allows them to learn from each others’ experiences.

Do teachers need to know about CLASS before they attend CLASS Group Coaching?

There is no need for teachers to know about CLASS before they participate in this program. This program will support teachers’ growth no matter their experience level with CLASS.

How is the content structured?

The program begins with an introductory session in which the teachers develop rapport, learn what CLASS is, and find out what they will be learning about in the following sessions. The second session introduces the CLASS domains of effective teaching. Sessions 3 through 11 cover each of the CLASS dimensions of effective teaching, usually 1 or 2 dimension per session. In these sessions, teachers learn what the dimension is, what indicators make up the dimension, see written and video examples of each dimension, and then plan to practice these interactions. The last session is a send-off that celebrates all of the progress the teachers made in the program.

What’s included in the online resources?

Between each session, teachers will access an online course to complete activities that will help them solidify their knowledge of CLASS. Teachers will have the opportunity to watch video examples of the CLASS dimensions, learn about the CLASS dimension they will cover in the next session, and plan the effective teaching interactions they will practice. When they arrive at the next session, teachers are better prepared to discuss the new material.

What do coaches do?

Coaches attend a training in which they will get to:

  • know the structure and logistics of the program
  • see activities demonstrated by their trainer
  • practice facilitating the program’s face-to-face and online activities

We don’t want coaches to only become good CLASS Group Coaching coaches. We want to see them become effective group coaches. This way, coaches are not only good at delivering the CLASS Group Coaching program to their teachers, but they are effective at facilitating group coaching sessions, in general. In order to do this, we introduce coaches to several group coaching competencies and work with them to develop their effectiveness in those competency areas. Once coaches are trained, they can begin facilitating cohorts of teachers through the program.

Are there prerequisites for a coach training?

A coach must be a certified CLASS observer in the age level of CLASS Group Coaching that they want to facilitate.

If you’re interested in learning more and want to hear the perspective of a director and a teacher, listen to our Teaching with CLASS podcast.