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.
Knowing that approximately 25% of children under 5 come from homes where Spanish is the predominant language spoken, we were pleased that Lisa White, a researcher at American Institutes for Research, was willing to speak with us about her study that compared the CLASS with the CASEBA, a tool designed to assess quality in classrooms serving dual language learners. To learn more, read on!
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.
We’re still soaking up the wisdom shared by our many, many excellent speakers at the spring 2021 InterAct Summit. From its inception, Teachstone has been an organization based in research. Because the CLASS is reliable and valid, teachers and programs trust it to give meaningful, accurate, and actionable information. To learn more about the current work being done in the field, we invited co-founder Bob Pianta to give an update on new research findings.
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.