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Using CLASS to Your Advantage: A Cultural Perspective

24 Mar 2019 by Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered how CLASS fits the culture of your program? There are three areas that will support your quest of ensuring that your program is taking full advantage of CLASS in your classrooms to support child outcomes and enhance effective teaching practices.

Cultural Awareness

What does it mean to be culturally aware? This is when you have an understanding of cultures that are different from your own.

Think for a moment: How does your program promote cultural awareness among CLASS observers, coaches, educators, and other classroom staff? When supporting educators and the children they work with, it is important to have awareness of your own cultural lens and awareness of the culture of the groups you are supporting. A few practical things you can do to increase your awareness are ask questions about the classroom culture, understand the group's communication style, and read about the predominant cultures you are supporting in your program’s community.

Cultural Norms

How are cultural norms established? These are learned behaviors that can be influenced by our families, teachers, and others we interact with in our given communities.

Cultures vary and can be based on one’s perspective and their established cultural norms. Racial disparity can be prevalent in some educational settings. When conducting CLASS observations, you must consider the difference cultural norms make in interactions and how you can be sensitive while maintaining fidelity to the CLASS tool.

CLASS Parallel Process

Parallel process is when adult-to-adult interactions mirror those of how we expect teachers to interact with children. For example, during a coaching conference with a teacher, the coach asks questions to elicit the teacher’s ideas and perspectives. Using parallel process with other adults supports interactions that can assist coaches and observers in their efforts of being culturally aware and sensitive in their work with educators.

More at the InterAct CLASS Summit

If you would like to hear more about CLASS parallel process to enhance effective interactions throughout your school and practical ways of using CLASS to your program’s advantage in improving child outcomes and educators’ professional development, then join us at the 2019 InterAct CLASS Summit for “Using CLASS to Your Advantage: A Cultural Perspective”!

Come ready to engage and brainstorm about using CLASS while being respectful of cultural norms. We will examine how the CLASS lens allows observers, coaches, and educators to see more clearly and offer learning opportunities through effective interactions. We will look at how teaching practices in a culturally sensitive classroom reflect positive teacher-child interactions.

Hope to see you there!


Nicolle Jones, M. Ed. has over 20+ years in the Early Childhood field. She has advocated for and served children, families, and teachers in the Kansas City and Washington, DC areas. Her experience includes: Early Head Start teacher, Family Service Advocate and in various Director and Administrator roles with both Corporate and Community Early Childhood Programs. Nicolle currently provides Training and Technical Assistance with the Region XI/AIAN. You can see her speak on this topic at the 2019 InterAct CLASS Summit.

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