The CLASS tool measures interactions in classrooms serving infants through high school students. That’s quite a span—and also why there are six different tools tailored to each age level. So what links these different tools? That’s where a fancy-pants term comes in: heterotypic continuity.
Simply put, effective classroom interactions across all these age levels share common features, but these features look different as children grow from infants to young adults. The CLASS tool considers development and context in its stage-appropriate descriptions of those features and groups them into domains and dimensions. So, the CLASS is similar across age levels, but not identical.
Let’s look at one dimension—Teacher Sensitivity—to see what I mean. Broadly speaking, Teacher Sensitivity describes teachers’ awareness of and responsiveness to children’s needs, and then looks at how comfortable children are in the classroom.
Can you see the similarities across age levels? The teacher supporting an infant who wants to pull to stand is demonstrating the same sensitivity as the teacher helping students complete complex trigonometry calculations. They’re both very aware of and responsive to individual needs, looking around to see how the infants or students are doing and quickly responding to any issues—and the infants and students show their comfort level with the teacher in similar ways—looking at the teacher and taking that risk to stand or ask for help. That’s heterotypic continuity!
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.
CLASS allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Here are 4 things you should know about using data to improve student outcomes.
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?
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.