We need to let the child do the work of figuring out how to zip up their coat and how letters signify sounds. We need them to keep trying, even when it’s hard. That doesn’t mean we abandon them; it actually takes more support from us, more intentionality and focus. And it’s really important to children’s learning!
Tips for Teachers
These responses get the child on to the next thing and help you keep the classroom running. But do they deepen understanding? Get the child thinking? Probably not, but that’s exactly what we need to be doing.
Take the letter/sound example. What happens if I try another approach? What if I ask questions, give hints, but don’t give the answer?
Let’s think of some P words. Like popcorn or puppy. Those words start with P. Can you say “puppy”? Listen. What sound do you hear at the start? P-p-puppy?
The child will probably get the |p| sound, which I can then explain is what the letter P says. By scaffolding the learning process, I’ve helped the child connect the dots between the letter she’s looking at and the sound it stands for. And since she’s done the cognitive work, she’s far more likely to hold on to that connection next time we talk about letters.
Want to see a real-life example? Watch this teacher respond to children to help them understand what letter makes the k-k-k sound.
As coaches, we need to respond to teachers in ways that support them to do the work that builds their understanding. It’s not easy—it takes practice, focus, and intentionality. Our Feedback Strategies online program can help. Join us in exploring more about how to respond to teachers in ways that deepen their understanding.
Want to see a real-life example? Watch this coach respond to a teacher to deepen her understanding of advanced language versus extension.
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
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.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.