This month, I had a chance to interview MMCI Instructor, Shawn Kaplan. In her time as an MMCI Instructor so far, she has facilitated an impressive number of teacher cohorts, impacted CLASS scores, and has some insightful reflections for new instructors.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background in Early Childhood Education.
I have been in the ECE field for 21 years--that's a long time! My professional journey has provided me with a range of opportunities from classroom teacher up through directorship for an infant through pre-K program. The highlight of my career, by far, has been getting introduced to CLASS and using this knowledge to coach teachers in a variety of programs across California.
Tell me about your experience with MMCI and your journey in becoming a certified instructor.
As with much of life, I was in the right place at the right time and had an opportunity to attend MMCI training with Jacquelynn, from Teachstone. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for; however, the colleague who told me about it had me at "CLASS." I didn’t even understand that the training would prepare me to become an instructor until the end of my first training day! Once I completed the training, I was more in love with CLASS than ever before. I was also at a great loss: How was I going to ever find enough teachers to train to achieve my certification? Thankfully, it all worked out, and then some.
What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating MMCI and how did you overcome them?
My first challenge was figuring out the content, slides, and pacing of the teacher training I had to deliver. Session one went well over time and I quickly realized I needed to pick up the pacing and make detailed notes by the minute. Another challenging aspect was that I started off conducting four MMCI cohorts per week; one on Wednesday and three on Friday. This meant I had just one day in between to reflect and smooth out any bumps. Because of my schedule, I overcame these challenges through trial and error. When a session went well, I learned to repeat the same flow for the next groups later in the week. And when I had to adjust on the spot, I did!
Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of MMCI? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?
I have seen several successes over the course of delivering ten MMCI-teacher cohorts. Here of some of my favorite responses to MMCI:
I am also incredibly proud to have been part of a larger project that included MMCI and has received data showing that the teachers who completed my cohorts impacted score changes, raising the bar on the national average across all CLASS domains.
What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI?
My biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI (so far) is the powerful impact you can make as a facilitator on your teachers. By engaging in parallel process and adjusting each session to meet the specific needs of your group through relatable examples--you can make a huge difference in their teaching practices and in the lives of the children in their classrooms.
Before the 2019 InterAct Class Summit in Nashville was even over, we were already excitedly planning 2020! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's take a quick look back at the incredible presenters, attendees, and staff that made 2019 possible. We had nearly 400 participants from all backgrounds—teachers, caregivers, mentors, coaches, trainers, implementation leaders, administrators, assessors, researchers, and more. However, their common passion for improving classroom interactions and empowering life-changing teachers was evident.
Teachstone is pleased to announce that starting June 3rd, we will be launching our public offering of the Child Development Associate with CLASS®. Enrollment will open on May 6. It is a comprehensive online program that supports learners seeking to fulfill the continued education requirements for maintaining their Child Development Associate (CDA) accreditation.
I lived in rural Japan for three years. While there, I became very accustomed to ordering the same types of entrees at restaurants due to my limited ability to read menus and my unwillingness to eat foods outside my comfort zone. So imagine how overwhelmed I felt when I returned to the States and had to decide on one entree amid pages and pages and pages of delicious options. It took a few weeks to learn how to navigate my way through these endless options without wanting to close my eyes and blindly point while ordering my meals.
Can we talk about structure? When CLASS entered my life, I was 20 years into my career in the field of early childhood education. What I remember most about that initial training, besides the nervousness about an impending reliability test, was a sense of relief. Structure, including State and program standards, curriculum, materials in the classroom, and approaches to childcare and pedagogy, had dominated my working hours. CLASS was a lot to learn, but for me, it was a breath of fresh air. Observing with CLASS meant I could set aside my obsession with all things structural – which encompassed my thoughts every time I walked into an early childhood classroom.