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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.
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.
This weekend the city that Teachstone calls home was taken over by hatred. Some of us witnessed the violence first hand. Others watched from afar through social media and television willing that our friends and coworkers would be safe.
Teacher professional development (PD) is often defined as, “structured professional learning that results in changes to teacher knowledge and practices, and improvements in student learning outcomes" (Darling-Hammond, Hyler & Gardner). Research has illustrated that teacher competency and skill is directly correlated to student achievement. Policy makers, educators, parents, and students alike, all have a vested interest in identifying the central aspects of effective teacher PD to enhance student outcomes.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is having its moment in education. SEL and CLASS program developers and practitioners would be well-served to better understand how SEL and CLASS initiatives are intricately intertwined, and how they can help drive positive outcomes in each area.
In preparing summer professional development for teachers, my district knew we wanted CLASS to play a larger role in our trainings. But how were we going to do that?
Once we began writing our training on centers we decided to videotape some of our model teachers to highlight interactions in each specific center—in essence, we wanted to create our own internal version of the CLASS Video Library.
Research has long examined the different ways in which students gain from early childhood education, but two new studies from Tulsa have shown some new areas of gains in Head Start Programs, as well as school readiness gains being closely predicted by the CLASS tool. While variation between classes and schools continue to be a problem in early childhood education outcomes, CLASS is driving schools towards greater success.
As anyone who has been to a CLASS training can attest, we are all about incremental growth, resisting the urge to promise a “quick-fix.” But, it can be hard to resist the urge to promise overnight changes, even though many indications point to slow, steady improvement being more likely to lead to lasting change.
Research shows many early childhood educators feel ill-equipped to meet the needs of children who display problem behaviors (Fox & Smith, 2007; Kaufmann & Wischmann, 1999; Perry et al., 2011). They describe aggressive behaviors as one of the greatest barriers they encounter in providing quality instruction and emphasize the need for training on how to deal with aggressive behaviors as one of their highest priorities.
While teachers grapple with this challenge, principals, supervisors, and the public focus tend to focus on the ability to prevent and manage aggressive behaviors when assessing effective teachers (Zuckerman, 2007).
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.