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3 Reasons Why Incremental Change is Cause for Celebration

11 May 2017 by Dee Manley

Part of my responsibility as a CLASS specialist is to open up the world to my participants and expand their CLASS lens within the four walls of their classroom/organization. Of course, sometimes that’s easier said than done.

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve heard is that it’s frustrating that change takes so long to see. Teachers and coaches might spend a full school year working closely, building a relationship, improving teaching practices—only to see incremental change in observation data. And, to be honest, it can be hard to get excited about seeing a 4.2 turn into a 4.4.

But, the smallest changes can make a big difference. Here’s what I encourage others to keep in mind.

1. Believe in the research behind the CLASS tool

The CLASS is based on a lot of studies. In fact, we recently compiled over 150 studies that prove the tool’s effectiveness. When you feel frustrated about specific dimensions, think back to all the research, let go, and trust the tool.

2. Believe that your own abilities will bring about change

I get excited just thinking of the possible impact that the coaches I work with are making. Every “spark moment” between teachers and coaches positively impacts the experience of young learners. Who knows? By encouraging teachers to ask just one more open-ended question, you might help a child find their passion for science, or math, or reading. Every interaction matters!

3. Remember that change takes time

In the real world, we must slow down a bit because there are significant challenges related to choosing, implementing, sustaining, and improving evidence-based approaches. There may be potholes, detours, and U-turns that organizations endure, such as high teacher turnover, loss in funding, or lack of support from administrators. All of these outside influences are even more reason to celebrate the positive change you see.

If you keep your “CLASSes” on, keep dribbling, and reflect—you’ll remember that small changes in “CLASS scores” translate to greater outcomes for your teachers and children.

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