A CLASS Observation Training is an interactive, content-packed experience, and even the most enthusiastic participants may find it difficult to think clearly as they gather their notebooks to head home at the end of day two. Of course we understand how busy everyone is leading up to a training, so none of the below is technically required of your future trainees to attend a training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give them a framework for the CLASS knowledge they're about to gain and that can truly enrich the experience for them and everyone their new CLASS knowledge will impact! To give colleagues in your organization a head start on understanding CLASS, consider sharing the following tips with them:
This can be a big obstacle to preparedness, and it isn’t always possible to get your materials well in advance of your training. Speak to whoever is organizing your training and see if they can work with you to get your materials. These materials include your CLASS manual, which you’ll use to assign scores after each observation, as well as several other valuable CLASS resources. If you can’t get materials in advance, check out the Teachstone website and all of its free resources. Here are two to get you started:
This clip gives a quick summary of why we’re doing what we do here at Teachstone, and why the CLASS tool can be so valuable to so many children around the world.
The CLASS manual is soon to be your observation bible—you’ll use it to assign scores after each and every CLASS observation you conduct. Check out the first two chapters of your new manual for a research background and overview of the different uses of the tool, as well as for observation protocols and procedures. Much of this information will be covered during the training, but it will be very helpful if you go into the training with a basic understanding of how the tool is to be used.
Next, read through the face pages for each of the CLASS Dimensions. These overviews included definitions and the basic structure of the tool. Each Dimension consists of a series of Indicators, broken down further by a series of Behavioral Markers. These Behavioral Markers are the specific pieces of evidence that you’ll look for as an observer. Behavior Markers are organized by Indicators, which are given a range score of Low, Mid, or High. All the Indicators are taken into consideration to help you score the Dimension on a numerical score between 1 and 7. Don’t worry. You’ll become very familiar with during the course of your CLASS training. But, having a basic understanding of how the tool is put together will make your experience much more beneficial.
After reading through the face pages, the detailed descriptions are up next. Behind the face page for each Dimension is an extensive detailed description of the Low, Mid, and High ranges for each Dimension. Don’t feel like you need to sit down and read these descriptions thoroughly, but the more familiar you become with these descriptions, the faster and more accurate your CLASS coding will be!
Another useful resource available to you prior to the training is online—the CLASS Video Library. This is a collection of short clips that demonstrate Behavioral Marker evidence in real life classrooms. I’d encourage you to watch a couple clips for each Dimension. As you watch the clips, think about how you would capture this evidence of effective teacher-child interactions efficiently and objectively in your own notes if you were conducting an observation.
Everyone is busy leading up to a training, and we don’t have unrealistic expectations! If you show up having done nothing but glance over the Teachstone website, you won’t be left in the dark. Your CLASS trainer is well equipped to bring you up to speed over the course of the 2-day event. However, if you can spend a few minutes beforehand reviewing your material, you’ll find the training to be far more enjoyable, less stressful, and more productive.
What advice do you give to people in your organization who are getting ready to attend a CLASS training? Share your tips in the comment box below!
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.