Imagine classrooms filled with children who are comfortable taking risks, sharing ideas, and working cooperatively with their peers. Can this become the norm in classrooms across the nation? Yes, because this is what consistent and effective Teacher Sensitivity (TS) cultivates in the classroom. Research tells us that teachers who are aware of and respond to each child, supportively facilitate the ability of all children in the classroom to explore actively and learn.
Teacher Sensitivity is not about how “nice” or “caring” teachers are; rather, it is about how teachers consistently demonstrate awareness and responsiveness to children’s current academic and emotional abilities and needs.
As a coach, enhancing this dimension can be very challenging. TS is inherently a sensitive topic and can easily cause teachers to become defensive. So how can we discuss TS without the conversation becoming too personal or feeling judgmental? Here are some helpful tips:
Genuinely being “in tune” with those that we support and educate is a goal worthy to strive toward every day for both teachers and coaches alike. It supports learners who are able to share their ideas freely and challenge themselves frequently. The most exciting thing is that both teacher and coach sensitivity are behaviors each of us can learn about, practice and perfect. Let’s start today!
Originally published January 27, 2016
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Originally published October 18, 2021
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
Imagine you’re a cook in a restaurant. It’s what you do every day, you are passionate about it, and consider yourself pretty darn good at it. One evening, the owner of the restaurant decides he is going to attend a meal “as a guest” and is served one of your featured dishes: chicken pot pie. You emerge from the kitchen, excited to find out what he thinks, and his response: “Taste this. What would you do differently next time?”
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.