When I was in middle school and high school, I frustrated teachers at every turn. I had plenty of ability but wasn’t motivated to put forth much effort and was the source of constant behavioral issues. I would trade stories with my friends, and it was clear that everyone knew I was as big a problem in the classroom. I always wondered, "Why do I never receive a referral when my friends often do?" I now realize the answer may have been in the mirror the whole time: my skin tone.
As the Production Specialist on Teachstone’s Content Innovation Team, one of my job responsibilities is to decide how we use the classroom footage we film throughout the country in our online programs and observer certification testing. I’ve been certified on Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K for awhile, since most of Teachstone’s current products are aimed at birth-to-five users.
At Teachstone, we spend so much time focused on early childhood that it's easy to lose track of all the great work being done in the upper grades. For this reason, my colleague, Joe Pierce, and Jessica, our blog moderator, asked me to review some of the research on interactions in upper elementary and secondary classrooms. There are recent findings that point to the importance of teacher-student interactions, even for students in high school. Here are some key points, along with links to articles in case you want to dig deeper.
UE? CLASS-S? You may not be aware that there are CLASS observation tools and supports for use at the Upper Elementary and Secondary School levels. I’ve facilitated quite a few trainings at these levels and am excited to see them being used more widely. Most people I meet in the process find the upper-level tools aligned with school-wide initiatives, best practices, and their own sense of what good teaching looks like.
The CLASS tool measures interactions in classrooms serving infants through high school students. That’s quite a span—and also why there are six different tools tailored to each age level. So what links these different tools? That’s where a fancy-pants term comes in: heterotypic continuity.