In the last “Real World Examples” post, we focused on Positive Climate. Moving on through the CLASS manual, today we will explore the dimension of Teacher Sensitivity. When thinking about Teacher Sensitivity, it helps to understand how it plays out in our everyday lives. Throughout any given day, many opportunities present themselves (sometimes the smallest moments) to provide thoughtful and sensitive responses. Supporting those we train to make a connection between everyday experiences and classroom experiences helps make learning the CLASS tool more meaningful and relatable!
The Example: A Rainy Day
Let's consider the process of evening preparation for the day ahead. You check the weather forecast for tomorrow’s temperature and chance of precipitation. Noticing that rain is predicted, you decide to set out a raincoat and umbrella (anticipating a problem and planning appropriately). When the next day arrives and it starts to sprinkle, you open your umbrella. As you do so, you notice a man on the park bench struggling to open his own umbrella. You realize that the person at the bench is having trouble figuring out how to latch his umbrella so that it stays open (notices a lack of understanding and/or difficulties).
The Example: A Rainy Day (continued)
After you notice the man’s challenge to latch his umbrella, you approach him to help: “I see that your umbrella won't open—that must be frustrating, and you are getting wet (acknowledges emotions). Is there anything I can do to help (provides comfort and assistance)?”
The Example: Transportation Troubles
Finding yourself stranded with transportation troubles is frustrating for anyone. When we wake up in the morning, we generally anticipate that our day will go as planned without car or transit troubles. Unfortunately, things do not always go so smoothly. Let’s say you tried to start your car in the morning and couldn’t get it running, so you call a mechanic. The mechanic responds quickly and sends for a tow truck to retrieve the vehicle and takes it to the shop. The mechanic also provides a courtesy vehicle that will take you to work (helps in effective and timely manner). Later, the mechanic calls with a solution to the problem. You voice a concern (“That repair may be out of our budget!”). The mechanic offers an alternate solution (and helps resolve a problem.) The mechanic in this example exhibits a lot of sensitivity to your concerns and is able to effectively and efficiently help address the problem.
The Example: A Neighborhood Party
Summertime is the most popular time to hold neighborhood get-togethers and family reunions. When you arrive to this type of event, you probably tend to seek out the people with whom you feel most comfortable. You may ask them to introduce you to others (seeks support and guidance). The people you are most comfortable with help make you feel at ease in a new group, and as a result, you can engage in a conversation without hesitation (freely participate). You may even choose to take a risk and strike out on your own to meet new people because your “secure base” has given you confidence and is nearby (takes risks).
By connecting CLASS indicators to the participant's actual lives, we can bring CLASS to life but making it meaningful and relevant! Stay tuned for additional dimensions in this series.
What are some of your favorite real-world examples of Teacher Sensitivity? In what ways do we notice and respond to the cues of the people around us?
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Educators learning about CLASS® are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many may wonder, “Will people think I’m weird if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for educators to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
The idea of being observed while performing a job can make anyone feel a little nervous. But understanding what CLASS observations are really about can help teachers relax and approach their classrooms with the same skill and attention they normally do.
Marnetta Larrimer, host of Impacting the Classroom, is today’s guest. She’s an early education professional and trainer who is currently a Professional Services Manager for Teachstone. In her conversation with Kate, she’s going to talk about what a CLASS observation is all about. Listen to the episode to hear what she has to say about what she would be doing while observing a classroom, who she’s paying attention to, and what happens after an observation. The answers you hear will help you feel more confident the next time you’re being observed.
IIn our recent webinar, Making the Move to CLASS® 2nd Edition, we shared how programs and individuals can begin to experience and use the enhanced Pre-K–3rd CLASS tool. Certified CLASS observers play a critical role in helping every child reach their full potential.
Without reliable and valid data on the quality of educator-child interactions, programs and educators would not have the actionable insights they need to make continuous quality improvements in the areas that matter the most for children.
So, you’re dual-certified on the Infant and Toddler CLASS® tools. Congrats! Not only can you observe in Infant classrooms (birth to 18 months) and Toddler classrooms (15 to 36 months), but you can also observe in classrooms that contain a mix of the two age levels. If you are observing in a classroom with three age levels, as there often are in Family Day Homes, check out this guidance.
Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on to get solutions to three of the most common challenges when observing in a mixed-age setting.