Marla Read Capper has dedicated her entire career to education. She has been a classroom teacher, a professor teaching pre-service teachers, a researcher of learning and development, a school administrator, and a teacher-coach. This diverse background in education provides a panoramic view of the school experience. Whenever possible she seeks to build bridges between the theory and practice of teaching-often through reflective conversations. She holds an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Virginia, an M.Ed. in Special Education from Ohio University, and a B.S. in Education from Ohio University.
Open-ended prompts are questions or statements that support children’s verbal and nonverbal communication. The purpose of open-ended prompts is to encourage extended responses, which promote children’s language development by meeting children where they are. To encourage optimal language growth for all children, educators tailor open-ended prompts to meet individual needs. For example, educators may need to provide more time and support for children to process information and then respond as they are able. The complexity of prompts should be based on children’s readiness levels and communication skills.
The CLASS® tool’s Instructional Learning Format (ILF) dimension refers to the ways educators enhance engagement. We all know students who are engaged in school regardless of who their teacher is just simply because that is who they are. But, this dimension examines the ways in which educators expand involvement by using a variety of modalities, strategies, and providing hands-on opportunities. This dimension is not about the actual learning that may or may not take place, but rather the “hooks” and methods an educator uses to “set the stage” for learning.
This past year of hybrid and virtual learning due to the pandemic highlighted the gaps in learning and the inequities that we already knew existed. It is apparent, now more than ever, that there needs to be a narrow focus on bridging the divides (e.g., digital) that exist and meeting students where they are in order to promote growth and put less emphasis on standardized testing. This would allow teachers to concentrate on curriculum with greater impact, differentiate their instruction, and utilize effective strategies that they know make a difference for children’s outcomes.