Concept Development and Quality of Feedback. These dimensions fall under the Instructional Support domain in the Pre-K CLASS measure. They have some similarities, of course—but they are truly distinctive in the ways they play out in the classroom.
Concept Development is defined by the CLASS Manual as the dimension that "Measures the teachers' use of instructional discussions and activities to promote students' higher-order thinking skills and cognition and the teacher's focus on understanding rather than on rote instruction."
This dimension focuses on building children’s thinking skills. Teachers who demonstrate high levels of CD are not just teaching a “concept” (letters, numbers, seasons), but using specific strategies to encourage children to think more deeply about ideas in the world around them. CD is all about the ways a teacher facilitates learning throughout the day.
Quality of Feedback, on the other hand, "Assesses the degree to which the teacher provides feedback that expands learning and understanding and encourages continued participation."
QF happens when a teacher responds to what a child says or does in a way that pushes the child to keep thinking or trying. Teachers who show high levels of QF are really specific in their feedback, assist children without simply giving away right answers, and expand on children’s words and actions. Was the child able to accomplish something deeper as a result of a teacher’s response? If so, there was probably some QF involved!
So, keeping those definitions in mind, can you sort the following classroom interactions into the correct CLASS dimension?
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? Everyone in my sample group spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly, but in my random group, the jelly always comes second.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me think about Behavior Guidance, a dimension in the CLASS® toddler observation tool. Especially the first two indicators of behavior guidance: proactive and supporting positive behavior. Proactive is the peanut butter! It goes first. That layer of peanut butter is the base for the jelly, which promotes positive behavior.
Shared physical presence is a large part of how we’re used to connecting with each other. Strong connections and relationships are important for children who may have recently experienced loss, high stress, or trauma. As teachers connect with children in a virtual setting, it can be more challenging to think about how to create a safe space for learning, sharing experiences, and taking risks.
There’s no sugar coating it - the 2020-21 school year was tough. Teachers, schools, and child care workers shouldered a massive burden, taking work that was already challenging and turning the difficulty up to 11. Well, maybe 12 or 13. Or 15. Who’s counting?
So, as you, educators, prepare for the upcoming school year, Teachstone wanted to recognize all the creativity, flexibility, and impact that teachers have demonstrated. We brought together Teachstone’s Kristin Valdes, Senior Instructional Designer, and Colleen Schmit, CDA Facilitator, in a recent webinar to celebrate the great and important work of teachers and to explore how the smallest moments make big impacts.
Here’s what our hosts shared with and heard from participants.