Note: It’s the start of another new school year and once again, my thoughts turn to all of the children who are starting school for the first time. But I also can’t help but think about those children who are making the big transition from preschool to kindergarten. As we all know, it can be a big adjustment for many kids.
In this day and age, the likelihood of finding an opinion or theory that everyone agrees on seems impossible. The world of early education is no different. Though most educators and parents agree that Pre-K serves as the foundation for increasing the likelihood of a child’s success later in life, there is still dissent surrounding how Pre-K programs should be managed to maximize this success.
Mary Margaret-Gardiner and Sarah Hadden discuss Student Expression from the Pre-K dimension Regard for Student Perspectives. You'll learn how to recognize Student Expression in a classroom, the importance of looking at dimensions as a whole when you're coding, and more.
It’s hard to deny that the CLASS Observation Training is effective in its primary goal: developing reliable CLASS Observers. Our impressive pass rates are proof of this. However, there is a lot more to conducting CLASS observations than just “being reliable” (AKA choosing valid scores). Field assessors must also learn the observation protocol that is outlined in Chapter 2 of the CLASS Manual. The manual provides guidance on field protocol; however, it is often up to organizations to develop their own standards for data collection.
When conducting a CLASS training, there are always a few dimensions I know participants are probably going to struggle with more than others. For instance, Concept Development is going to be tricky for some, followed closely by Quality of Feedback. Usually though, as we progress through training, these dimensions become more clear.
Once you have been through CLASS Observation Training, it is hard not to notice interactions everywhere you go! You even start to sort those behaviors into dimensions mentally—at least I know I do! When this happens, it can lead us to our own "ah-ha!" moments when preparing for training and gives us some great examples to use with participants who may be experiencing CLASS for the first time. Being able to connect the tool with a relevant, real world examples helps participants connect new content with something they may have experienced, too!
During the dimension discussion of Instructional Learning Formats in a CLASS Observation Training, I often find myself needing to clarify the difference between the indicators of Effective Facilitation and Clarity of Learning Objectives. My participants have pointed out that both indicators talk about the teacher asking questions, and if the teacher is effective, shouldn’t learning objectives then be obvious?
I recently heard about risk competency and big body play at a local teaching conference. I have spent time considering this in relation to our Head Start program. One of the questions I have been asking myself is how some play that might be considered "roughhousing" will impact CLASS scores in Behavior Management. Behaviors that typically appear aggressive (pushing, hitting, building a "sword" out of markers and then using it to inadvertently hit another child) lower the score in this dimension. Do I change the way I view this interaction in terms of CLASS? Does this put me at risk for no longer being reliable? What advice do you have regarding this?
What is quality in early education classrooms, and how can we make sure that more children—especially those from low-income families—experience it? Our own and others’ research shows that classroom interactions between teachers and their students provide the strongest indicators of quality.