I’ll admit it: CLASS terms can be a little confusing. For example, problem solving in Concept Development sounds a lot like resolving problems in Teacher Sensitivity. So, what’s the difference?When I get stuck on a term, I always try to “bring it back to the dimension level” and think about how the term relates to the overall purpose of the dimension. Here, I’d look at Teacher Sensitivity and Concept Development as a whole, and then how resolving problems and problem solving fits into each.
Say you have two children squabbling over who gets to build a puzzle. Your immediate goal as you respond might be to address the problem and get the children engaged cooperatively in the puzzle. You might demonstrate great Teacher Sensitivity by being aware of the situation and responding quickly to help them resolve the issue: “I see you’re frustrated because you both want to build the same puzzle. How about you take turns putting in the pieces?” This is important—we want children’s problems quickly resolved so that they can feel comfortable and participate in activities.
But to “count” as Concept Development, we’d need to look at your goal in the interaction. If it’s to take advantage of an opportunity for children to think through how to resolve the problem, then you’ll interact to promote children’s higher-order thinking skills. You might ask the children arguing over the puzzle, “How can we work this out?” and encourage them to generate and consider strategies (such as turn-taking, working on separate areas and then joining the puzzle, working on different puzzles side-by-side, etc.) to solve the problem. In this case, you might both resolve the problem and engage the children in problem solving at the same time!
Clear as mud? Feel free to ask more about confusing CLASS tool terms!
It’s Dual Language Learner Celebration Week! Every year in the U.S., the amount of young children who live in a household where a language other than English is spoken has been steadily increasing. As of 2016, about one-third of children under age 8 – over 11 million children – are dual language learners (DLLs).
As an infant classroom teacher, you know that talking to babies is important. For instance, you tell the infants in your care what they are looking at (“You see the new block basket on the shelf!”). You label objects (“You have the red ball!”). And you describe events that take place in the classroom (“The tray just fell off the table! That scared you.”). These are all examples of talking with babies. Why, then, can it be so challenging to do this consistently in the classroom?
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.