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.
This month we’d like to take a minute to spotlight one of our awesome Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) Instructors, Tonya Schadle. Tonya went through the three-day MMCI Instructor training in September 2016 and completed her certification requirements to become a certified MMCI Instructor. She is also a certified Infant CLASS Trainer. In her journey to become even more “CLASSy” than she already is, she agreed to speak to me about her work with CLASS in education.
Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) has 10 sessions, but there is a secret "11th session" that you won't find in the materials: Instructor Reflection. Read one instructor's thoughts below.
Recently, we spoke with Jane Franco, a Provider Specialist with the Sunshine Stars, a QRIS in Florida. Jane is a certified MMCI Instructor, with both toddler and Pre-K CLASS observer certifications under her belt. She currently coaches about 15 teachers through the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties; she is also facilitating two unique MMCI cohorts. Our interview is below!
You're in a coaching session trying to help your teacher understand how to be more intentional in her interactions with children in the dimension of Concept Development. When you start to explain what analysis and reasoning look like, she looks at you with that quizzical look in her eye. You suggest, “Let’s look at the Dimension Guide on page 19 and let’s read these informational paragraphs.
I was quite taken aback recently when an intern completing her first semester with a group of young toddlers told me, “My goal when I started the semester was to use more self-talk and parallel talk, but the toddlers are now talking, so that’s no longer needed.”
How to respond? Clearly she assumed that the self- and parallel talk supported language for very young children, and the effectiveness ended there. But that's not really true.
If you’re a Teachstone blog-reader, you may have noticed that we focus on being “strengths-based” instructional coaching all the time. But sometimes it’s equally healthy to reflect on the stuff that didn’t go so well so we can avoid it next time. (By the way, if you’re looking for something purely strengths-based, Gina Gates recently wrote this fantastic post for the myTeachstone blog on ways to support resistant teachers using an online platform.)
This post is about what not to do. These are the seven deadly sins of taking teacher learning online:
I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom. I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she shares that several children need her assistance, she’s got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped. She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS Observer was in her room last week, and she just doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard.
So far, we have looked at how the look-for text and the CLASS language charts can support teacher learning. For part 3 of this series, let’s examine how the reflective questions in myTeachstone can encourage teacher engagement and reflection.