<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1441829102512164&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

The Power of How You Are: Promoting Confidence and Persistence in the CDA with CLASS®

12 Nov 2020 by Joanna Parker

As a CDA with CLASS facilitator, I now recognize that CLASS also helps us think about how we can be present and responsive in supporting the curiosity, engagement, and persistence of adult learners. 

I am blessed to be able to support CDA learners, many of whom are returning to formal education for the first time in many years. Some of these learners come from previous educational experiences that were not supportive, that left them feeling that they weren’t good at school or weren’t competent students. But with the right support, these learners can grow their persistence as well as their sense of competence and confidence.

I fell in love with early learning and development standards many years ago, when I first began supporting work around the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards and state quality improvement efforts. The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards are centered on the five domains of children’s development: Health and Physical Development, Social-Emotional Development, Language Development and Communication, Approaches to Learning, and Cognition and General Knowledge. In my work, I’ve often thought of these domains as forming a wheel, with Social-Emotional Development serving as the hub—the domain at the center, to which all other domains connect. 

More recently, I have come to realize that Social-Emotional Development is not alone at the center of the wheel. Instead, it shares the space with its twin sibling: Approaches to Learning.  Approaches to Learning, the often forgotten and misunderstood domain, may now be my favorite. I’m downright salty when Approaches to Learning is lumped in with Cognition, rather than being recognized as a domain in its own right. I find myself empathizing with those who protested Pluto’s demotion from planethood.

So, what do I love about Approaches to Learning? Approaches to Learning focuses on children’s curiosity, engagement, and persistence—so much of what CLASS is all about. But these benefits of CLASS aren’t just for young learners. As a CDA with CLASS facilitator, I now recognize that CLASS also helps us think about how we can be present and responsive in supporting the curiosity, engagement, and persistence of adult learners. 

I am blessed to be able to support CDA learners, many of whom are returning to formal education for the first time in many years. Some of these learners come from previous educational experiences that were not supportive, that left them feeling that they weren’t good at school or weren’t competent students. But with the right support, these learners can grow their persistence as well as their sense of competence and confidence.

How the CDA with CLASS® Supports Adult Learners 

As teachers and facilitators, we can use CLASS as a common language and framework to help us be more intentional in how we are with others—both adults and children. Below are some specific ways the CDA with CLASS supports adult learners, mapped to CLASS dimensions.

Positive Climate

  • Facilitators provide timely and specific feedback, using individual learners’ names and pointing out what they have done well in their assignments.
  • Facilitators focus on relationship building and model best practices through interactions with learners.

Teacher Sensitivity

  • Facilitators are responsive and accessible. Learners can get in touch through in-course messaging, email, phone, and text. Facilitators use weekly messages to reach out to learners who are struggling to get started, and provide these learners with additional support by scheduling individual Zoom meetings.
  • Facilitators recognize that learners are juggling work (often more than one job!), family responsibilities, and school, and that our job is to support the success of each learner by meeting them where they are.

Regard for Student Perspectives

  • Learners can choose from multiple options for discussions and assignment topics in each of the units.
  • The course is completely self-paced, giving learners the autonomy to determine their own schedule and complete each unit at their own pace.

Instructional Learning Formats

  • Learning objectives are clearly stated and connect to the CDA competencies and requirements of the professional portfolio.
  • Learners have multiple ways to engage with content and learn new concepts, including articles, videos, interactive activities, discussions, quizzes, assessments, and written assignments.

Concept Development

  • Content connects directly to work learners are doing every day in their interactions with young children and families!
  • Assignments provide opportunities to connect learning to previous and future experiences teaching young children.

Quality of Feedback

  • Learners are provided with feedback on assignments, quizzes, and assessments, and can resubmit after adjusting their responses based on this feedback.
  • Facilitators strive to engage in two-way communication with learners through in-course messages, email, phone, and text.

Language Modeling

  • The CDA with CLASS introduces and maps early childhood and CLASS language to concepts that learners know and practices they use every day in their work with young children.
  • Written assignments ask learners to respond to open-ended questions, reflecting on connections between course content and their work as educators.

The CDA with CLASS program is packed with engaging content, including videos and podcasts! Listen to a sample podcast hosted by 2 of our amazing CDA facilitators. 

Listen to the podcast

CLASS provides language and a framework for being intentional in how we are with others. CLASS is not just about supporting engagement, learning, and development for young children. It also helps us plan and implement professional development and higher education opportunities that meet adult learners where they are. And the best evidence of this argument comes directly from CDA with CLASS learners themselves:

First of all I just want to thank you for all of the hard work you do, but also I want to thank you for being so encouraging and being such a positive role model for me during this time. Your positive remarks meant so much to me it encouraged me to keep going when I felt discouraged and felt like giving up. This journey has been tough. With personal issues coming up and not feeling positive. But knowing I could always come to you with questions or concerns has been so helpful. One day I hope I can make such a positive impact in someone’s life as you have on mine. Thank you again.

I enjoyed taking the class online. It was easy to maneuver through online and easy to read and understand what was expected of me as a student. It has been years (I'm 54) since I was in school, so I was a little leary to start this online class. I am not actually a teacher, but as a supervisor, it has been a great tool to learn what is expected of my staff who is working with the students and expected of me when I fill in for them. Thank you.” 

“I've always done online courses in college and this was by far the smoothest course I have ever taken. Some institutions rely on one form of learning where this course is built for various type learners. I am a very visual learner, so by reading something I can understand but then by seeing it be explained in a real life situation through video made it that more stable in my brain. Awesome first eight weeks! I am excited to see what comes ahead!!!”

“My favorite part of the program was the information I have learned. I realized that reading some/most of these materials has changed my thinking not only in school but at home as well, with my own children. I also loved the little push of encouragement I received from my facilitator.

New call-to-action