I was quite taken aback recently when an intern completing her first semester with a group of young toddlers told me, “My goal when I started the semester was to use more self-talk and parallel talk, but the toddlers are now talking, so that’s no longer needed.”
How to respond? Clearly she assumed that the self- and parallel talk supported language for very young children, and the effectiveness ended there. But that's not really true.
First of all, “rote” learning is not the enemy; there is a time and place for everything. It’s necessary to memorize addresses, PINs, birthdays, the speech for your award, and so much more. It’s when we stop and only use rote learning that we are doing a disservice to our children. Rote learning does not promote creative thinking, original thought, problem solving, or create new brain pathways. More importantly, if a teacher relies on a rote approach to teaching she may inadvertently turn children off to learning. Children then disengage from the activity and behavior challenges result.
When two colleagues whom I greatly respect for the depth and breadth of their CLASS knowledge contacted me within 24 hours of each other to ask about how the CLASS defined the indicator of transitions under Productivity, I thought it was probably a good topic for a blog post.
The Scoring Summary Sheet can offer observers and coaches a lot of insight on what's happening in a classroom during a typical day. Located on page 18 of the Pre-K CLASS Manual, Figure 2.2 shows how to create a summary of all six observational cycles. It also allows coaches to ask data-backed, specific questions like, "What's happening during small group that may be affecting a teacher's behavior management interactions?"
At this year’s InterAct Summit, Bridget Hamre delivered a powerful message during the opening keynote. We pulled out some of her key points into a two-part blog series, Interactions Are Our Core. Below is the second part of a two-part series on Interactions Are Our Core. You can find the first part here.
Classroom video is at the heart of Teachstone’s products. We certify observers by asking them to reliably code video segments. Our Video Libraries, myTeachstone video resources, and interactive courses use authentic classroom moments to model exemplary CLASS practices and support teacher professional development. Since we are constantly adding new resources to myTeachstone and creating new videos for our six reliability tests, we have consistent need to collect new classroom footage.
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. Intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
I’ve been in the field of early childhood education for over 35 years and absolutely LOVE the CLASS tool. I wish I had CLASS during my years as a teacher and director of ECE programs. I am grateful to have the CLASS tool now to express my continual love for ECE and the importance of great teaching in the early years of children's lives.