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!
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
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!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!