I recently had the pleasure of spending a Sunday at the NHSA Fall Leadership Institute conference in Arlington, Virginia. During a full-day session on deepening understanding of the CLASS system, we took a close look at the Instructional Support domain, while considering strategies to help increase the effectiveness of teacher-child interactions.
Toward the end of the day, one participant had an important take-away moment about the CLASS domains:
Although we were reflecting specifically about the inter-relationship between the dimensions as they applied to classrooms, it occurred to me that as we build teacher effectiveness, the construct of the CLASS framework applies to teacher-coach interactions as well.
It's can be challenging to look at our classroom interactions in a new way or make feedback based on CLASS data "real" in our day-to-day professional lives. It can feel like a “gotcha” when what we really intend is “I’ve got you!”—in other words, I'm here to help!
Before a teacher will trust us enough to really hear feedback on what is occurring during those moment-to-moment exchanges that happen throughout the day, that teacher needs to trust us. We do that by establishing relationships, being sensitive to needs, and listening to find out where they are coming from. With this information we can provide feedback that builds on teachers’ strengths, thereby providing emotional support.
Once we build trust, we need to help improve the effectiveness of classroom interactions. Do we provide clear objectives? Do we give examples and activities to engage the teacher in meaningful interchanges that focus on the key elements of each dimension and its impact on a child’s experience? Do we have everything ready, such as the Video Library and discussion questions? If so, we are demonstrating classroom organization.
Finally, do we build knowledge through back-and-forth exchanges and by asking "how" and "why" questions? Do we support and facilitate understanding by developing conceptual knowledge of the CLASS measure? Do we enhance this by providing feedback, information, and specific affirmation of what is being promoted through these conversations? Do we use the common language of the tool to discuss the markers and indicators that build more effective classrooms? If so, we are providing meaningful instructional support.
All of this takes planning, relationships, and intentionality. If you’d like to know more, consider watching our webinar, Using CLASS Data to Provide Effective Feedback.
Editor's note: this post was originally posted in October, 2013.
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us:
The spread of COVID-19 has led many schools and programs to put social distancing practices in place for the start of the 2020–2021 school year. The adoption of masks, physical distancing, and other precautions has led teachers to ask how they can maintain effective interactions with the children in their classrooms.
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.