We spend a lot of time at Teachstone thinking about teachers—pre-service teachers just starting to learn about classroom interactions and in-service teachers who have years of experience but are looking for ways to improve their practices. We ask ourselves questions like, “What do teachers need to implement effective interactions in their classrooms?” and “How can we support such behavioral change in teachers?”
In our conversations with teacher educators, we are finding that they ask themselves the same questions. We all want to explore innovative and meaningful ways to help teachers promote children’s learning and development.
Recently, professors at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey shared how they engaged in a pilot project using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ (CLASS™) to improve the practice of K-12 teachers in their graduate program. Specifically, they incorporated videotaping and analysis, peer coaching, independent research, and class discussion into their capstone project (a yearlong endeavor). Combining these strategies and the CLASS framework allowed the teachers to:
Overall, this project was well received by the teachers and even the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Though the data is still being analyzed, initial results point to significant increases in teacher effectiveness.
So, what does this mean for your program, courses, and teachers? How can you incorporate the CLASS system into your work? Videos of students? Discussion and reflection around the dimensions? Evaluation of student teachers’ work and learning? Use the comments to let us know.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
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.
CLASS allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Here are 4 things you should know about using data to improve student outcomes.
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.