When teachers hear CLASS tool, often the first thought that comes to their mind is asking children open-ended questions. And while asking “how” and “why” questions is extremely important in helping to foster and support language and concept development, we cannot have effective interactions with these questions alone. There is so much more to the CLASS tool!
Are you a teacher who recently had a CLASS observer come to your classroom? Maybe the observer mentioned something about giving you your CLASS scores—or maybe you aren’t sure when or how you’ll get feedback from the observation. If that recently happened to you, you might have typed something into Google like, “What are CLASS scores?” Not to fear. I hope this blog post clears it up for you!
In our previous "Real World Examples" post, we focused on Productivity. Let's explore the Instructional Learning Formats dimension to wrap up the Classroom Organization domain.
Looking through the CLASS lens, teachers who are high in ILF have students who are interested, excited, and motivated to engage in activities. They facilitate in a way that encourage students’ excitement by being involved, commenting on children's work, and asking relevant questions. Modalities in the classroom are hands-on, and include different ranges, such as auditory and visual, to keep things interesting. The goal of the activities that children are engaged in is clear, as the teacher orients the students to the learning objectives.
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These examples represent Teacher talk, an indicator in the Infant CLASS tool. Why, then, is the dimension of Early Language Support so challenging?
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.
CLASS is a research based tool that measures teacher-child interactions in Pre-K-12 classrooms and in settings that serve infants and toddlers. I'm one of the biggest cheerleaders of this tool. I believe if I had had this professional development tool while I was a teacher it would have impacted my teaching implementations and positively affected my students’ learning outcomes.
Coaching is becoming common across many organizations. If coaching works for top athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and other professions, why shouldn’t educators capitalize on the benefits of coaching as well?