We all know that coaches and teachers have many time constraints when working to provide high quality care for young children. We designed myTeachstone to help address time issues by providing numerous and varied resources on effective interactions that allow for meaningful professional development with less face-to-face time.
Even with all of the fantastic resources, however, it can take time for coaches to create discussions that focus and promote teacher growth.
The good news is that myTeachstone resources include built-in content to make engaging teachers in effective discussion even easier. This blog series will take you through this content and provide tips for its use.
Part 1: Using "Look Fors"
We define "Look Fors" as the text you see when you hover your mouse over the video, as shown in the image below.
In this example, let's think about how teachers keep children focused during center time. Check out this myTeachstone video, Itsy Bitsy Dog (we will keep coming back to this resource for this series).
For now, ignore all of the look fors and CLASS dimensions. Just watch the video and pay attention to:
There are numerous answers to these two questions. The children are learning about a variety of subjects including care for pets, how stores work, the difference between small and large quantities/sizes, how to collaborate with others, etc. In terms of first impressions, you might notice how great it is that the teacher is sitting on the floor with the children or you might notice the mix of open- and closed-ended questions.
I ask you to think about these observations to remind us of the importance of learning objectives and lenses. Look fors help teachers understand these two ideas. Let’s dig deeper.
While it is difficult to ignore first impressions, it is important to understand that they are there and how they affect learning. It is fine for teachers to have a different lens, but this can sometimes make conversation more difficult. Look fors can help create a common lens and language for you and the teachers to use when discussing effective interactions. They can also help to minimize some of the distraction that our individual lenses might create.
To close, here are a few tips for using the look fors:
What about you? How have you used the look fors? In what ways do they enhance teacher learning?
In the coming days, please "look for" my next post in this series, which will focus on using the charts in myTeachstone to facilitate teachers' learning!
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.
Even top athletes rely on the support of a coach to improve their game. Players need coaches to help identify their unique strengths and grow their talents while increasing their skills in areas of challenge. To do all this, coaches spend lots of time observing athletes while they practice—giving real-time feedback based on current efforts, breaking skills down as needed to cultivate mastery, and encouraging players to keep trying in pursuit of their goals.
As coaches, we've all encountered resistant teachers. Resistance to coaching can take many forms. You might encounter a teacher who is direct, making it clear they don't want your help. Or a teacher who is passive, putting off your meetings and recommendations, or acting like they're open to coaching but never actually changing their behavior. While this can be frustrating, you shouldn’t assume the teacher is to blame.