During the dimension discussion of Instructional Learning Formats in a CLASS Observation Training, I often find myself needing to clarify the difference between the indicators of Effective Facilitation and Clarity of Learning Objectives. My participants have pointed out that both indicators talk about the teacher asking questions, and if the teacher is effective, shouldn’t learning objectives then be obvious?
When I think about what effective facilitation may look like during an observation, I tell participants to envision a teacher who is walking around the room, talking with and to the children about what they are doing. The teacher may join the students at the manipulative math area, and work alongside them; she is asking questions and making comments about their work. She might pause in the art area and make comments about the colors the children are using, and ask them about their pictures. All the while, she balances her involvement with the children’s exploration. Because of these interactions, the student’s involvement in the activity is enhanced, and they are more involved in the activities.
Okay--think about the teacher being more intentional here. She is much more focused on a learning objective. This indicator measures whether or not there is a clear point to the activity at hand. Take a step back here, and ask yourself, “Is it obvious to me what the goal of this activity is?” To decide, listen for the teacher to ask questions, or make comments that are clear, and targeted on the learning objective at hand. She may make an outright statement, such as “We are going to use the scale to decide which items are the heaviest.” The students may give us that evidence as well, by, for instance, manipulating the scales and making comments about the heavy and light items.
Yes! The teacher could be actively facilitating a variety of activities or lessons around the classroom that encourage the students to remain engaged in activities, but she may be less focused on any particular learning objective. Think about the exemplar video “Maximizing Children’s Engagement in Centers.” This teacher is joining in the play at hand in the house area, as two children pretend to be doctors and dress a doll. The teacher asks questions, keeps them involved in the play at hand, and even expands what could have been limited play. But we don’t have any indication that there is a point or learning objective within that play.
I hope this helps you as you support the participants understanding of the indicators within the Instructional Learning Formats dimension! How do you explain the differences in your training?
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
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Teachstone continues to fulfill the important role of supporting Spanish-speaking partners who implement CLASS in their programs and communities. In an effort to strengthen our reach to this key base, Teachstone recently hosted a regional conference in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The regional conference offered several CLASS trainings in Spanish as well as translation services for English trainings. Trainings were held from November 4–8 at the headquarters and facilities of Camera Mundi Inc. Camera Mundi is the largest and most comprehensive provider of products, equipment, materials, and services to the educational sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.