When I tried to contact Lydia Carlis, September’s featured Affiliate Trainer, I found her in Durban, South Africa on her annual education trip to learn more about how other countries educate disadvantaged children.
Frankly, I wasn’t surprised to learn that she takes these kinds of trips. As a Principal Consultant and founder of eyemaginED, a research organization in Washington, D.C., that strives to close the achievement and opportunity gaps that exist between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers, Lydia has to know a lot about best ways to help our children learn. eyemaginED provides services ranging from program evaluation, to professional development, to advocacy work on behalf of children who deserve access to a better education. And since she’s not busy enough, she is also starting a non-profit education foundation.
Lydia completed her first TTT Program in 2008 and over the years has become certified in every age level. She is also an Affiliate Trainer for Toddler, Pre-K, and K-3. Initially, Lydia provided most of the trainings for her organization, but now supports training, but spends more time consulting with schools and other education organizations. She strongly believes that CLASS observations are one important strategy in supporting schools to examine, reflect upon, and improve their overall school quality.
Lydia regularly uses the CLASS lens and formal CLASS observations in her consulting work.
“I am happy to be trained as an observer all the way through secondary, so I find myself creating mental or actual crosswalks between the CLASS and various school-created observation tools regularly. It is a research-based, valid and reliable tool that helps schools use a common language around quality interactions. I also like that it can serve as a connector between grade levels when thinking about quality.”
When I asked Lydia what has been most helpful to her as a CLASS trainer she said collaborating with other trainers!
“I find it immensely valuable to co-plan, and to talk over different strategies that were more or less successful in training delivery. It is also really helpful as a trainer to be in actual classrooms, using the tool, as much as possible. Observer trainings bring together participants from so many backgrounds and experiences. Relevant anecdotal stories from real classroom experiences go a long way in quickly building 'street cred”' (smile)."
When I asked Lydia’s for a final piece of advice for new trainers she said, “Remember that disagreements with Master Codes are not personal attacks. It is so useful because there will inevitably be participant disagreement during one (or all ) of your reliability training videos. Use your training manual, liberally. This is much easier to do if you read your training manual, again, before you stand up in front of the group.”
Would you like to be featured in our monthly Affiliate Trainer Spotlight? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be in touch!
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.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.