We recently received an email from an observer who had just completed his K-3 recertification and had some difficulty with Teacher Sensitivity. He stated that he was uncertain how to code the indicator of Addresses Problems if the students do not appear to have difficulties. He wondered if he needed to be more attentive to minor signs of awareness and responsiveness. If you've ever wondered that yourself or have had a trainee ask you that question, read on to see our response.
Teacher Sensitivity looks at how aware and responsive teachers are to students’ moment-to-moment cues that they are having difficulty, either academically or socially. The cues could be as minor as a student not picking up a pencil to start a writing assignment (could mean that the student is unclear on the directions), or a student withdrawing from a group discussion after another student teased her for her contribution to the conversation. We have a tendency to look for really big problems—two students not getting along or a student having a meltdown because he can’t figure out how to work a math problem.
Of course, is is possible to have a 20-minute observation cycle where there aren’t any "big problems," but generally, if you watch closely, you’ll see small signs that a student is having difficulty (student pauses while reading out loud because he cannot figure out how to decode a work, another student riffling through all of the papers in his desk searching for his homework, etc.). You would pick these up under Addresses Problems in Teacher Sensitivity.
Sometimes there really are no problems or potential problems are dealt with, so effectively they are never manifested. Awareness and responsiveness will reflect the efficacy of addressing problems. This is a good example of how the indicators affect each other. They don't really stand alone, rather work in tandem to help us decide where on the scale a dimension scores.
What other questions do you have about Teacher Sensitivity? Let us know in the comment section below!
Thank you to Mary Margaret Gardiner for her contributions this post.
When COVID-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But with the pandemic surging and some schools opening up - only to shut down again, it’s clear that COVID is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about COVID related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.
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.
We recently came across a really interesting article that examined both the academic and emotional aspects of teaching mathematics and we were excited when the lead author agreed to answer some of our questions about the study. Read below for our conversation with Rebekah Berlin, Program Director for the Learning by Scientific Design Network at Deans for Impact.
With the increased presence of virtual schooling, parents and educators of young children, including myself, are finding themselves stressed. Are children getting the content they need? How do I engage children in learning virtually? How do we help children develop essential skills such as curiosity, attention, and emotion regulation in a virtual setting? In a recent New York Times op-ed, entitled “Kids Can Learn to Love Learning, Even Over Zoom”, psychologist Adam Grant shared ways that teachers can promote curiosity in a virtual classroom. He discussed the importance of including “mystery, exploration, and meaning.”