In last month’s blog post in our family child care (FCC) series, we looked at the challenge of coding consistently in inconsistent settings. This month we’re going to take a look at yet another challenge for observers in family child care settings—maintaining objectivity.
FCC Challenge #3: Maintaining Objectivity
When conducting observations in someone’s home, it can be difficult to maintain your objectivity for a number of reasons:
How do these factors impact your data collection?
My best advice is to stay grounded in the CLASS manual and carefully follow protocol. Take a look in Chapter 2 at the section “Challenges for the Observer" for insights on this issue. As you'll see, carefully considering the dimensions definition and looking closely for disconfirming evidence to capture bias is an important part of the coding protocol. Be sure you are using the definition, face pages, and detailed long descriptions to assign your score. Trust your manual!
My recommendation for observing in a small place is to find a spot that is out of the way, if you can. You will need to pay attention to the movement of the children and provider and be ready to find another spot if needed. Having all your materials together in a bag will make it easier to quickly move from spot to spot. It is also a good idea to hold debriefing sessions with other certified observers to review challenges and share strategies for maintaining your objectivity.
What strategies do you have in place to maintain objectivity in your family home observations? Let us know in the reply section below! We’d love to hear from you!
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.
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.