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!
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.