Teachers that watch videos of effective classroom interactions are more likely to improve their own interactions. Knowing this, Teachstone created and continues to cultivate a robust CLASS Video Library, featuring real teachers effectively interacting with children. In order to help coaches and mentors make the most of their Video Library usage with teachers, Teachstone also created the Video Library Companion, a roadmap for planning and facilitating effective conversations around the videos.
With all these tools at a coach’s disposal, one would think that leading a discussion around classroom videos would be a breeze. But what happens when a teacher becomes fixated on a distracting element of a video—something unrelated to your planned discussion around a specific dimension or indicator, but potentially derailing nonetheless? Examples of distracting elements might include:
What can you do when conversations get sidetracked like this? Here are some tips:
1. Prepare in Advance: Watch videos models in advance, and if you notice any potential distractions, prepare the teacher for what she is about to see and describe, specifically, what to look for in the video that relates to your work together.
2. Acknowledge the comment, but remind the teacher that the point of your conversation is to look for and discuss CLASS interactions around just one dimension. Use the dimension-specific questions from the Video Library Companion to reorient the conversation.
3. Affirm the observation and follow the teacher’s lead. For example, if the teacher remarks, “That might work if I didn’t have twenty children in my classroom!” you might respond, “You’re right. It is much easier to have an extended feedback loop when you’re interacting with just one or two children. Do you want to talk about some strategies for facilitating group feedback loops or ways you might work with your assistant to build in more one-on-one time with children?"
4. Affirm the observation and offer clarification or additional information. For example, if the teacher notices, “I didn’t see the teacher smile once!” during a Concept Development video, you might respond: “Excellent point. You’re right on the money—fostering a warm environment goes a long way toward laying the groundwork for Concept Development interactions; however, right now we’re just looking for Concept Development interactions. Smiling falls into the Positive Climate dimension.”
While we’re on the topic, guess what? Our newest product in development, MyTeachstone, will feature a robust professional development library—including videos with information pointing out possible distractions, a list of behaviors to “look for,” and discussion questions that will aid these important video-related conversations.
How do you support teachers in making the most of video models? Use the comments below to share tips with your fellow coaches.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted on June 7, 2014. We have revamped the content so it's accurate and fresh.
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Originally published October 18, 2021
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
After a couple of very challenging years, bringing people together feels even more significant than ever before. That’s why we are excited to bring people together again to build connections, share ideas, and inspire each other at our 8th annual InterAct CLASS® Summittaking place in Miami, Florida, April 18-19, 2023.
Imagine you’re a cook in a restaurant. It’s what you do every day, you are passionate about it, and consider yourself pretty darn good at it. One evening, the owner of the restaurant decides he is going to attend a meal “as a guest” and is served one of your featured dishes: chicken pot pie. You emerge from the kitchen, excited to find out what he thinks, and his response: “Taste this. What would you do differently next time?”
Imagine classrooms filled with children who are comfortable taking risks, sharing ideas, and working cooperatively with their peers. Can this become the norm in classrooms across the nation? Yes, because this is what consistent and effective Teacher Sensitivity (TS) cultivates in the classroom. Research tells us that teachers who are aware of and respond to each child, supportively facilitate the ability of all children in the classroom to explore actively and learn.