The first thing to consider as you develop a CLASS observation plan for your organization is the purpose or goal of your observations. Are you more interested in teacher-level or program-level data? Will you be using the data you collect to inform professional development? What kinds of decisions will your data help you make? Knowing why you’re conducting CLASS observations and what you hope to accomplish will help you decide on plan specifics.
Watch as our CLASS experts discuss some of the common misconceptions of the Instructional Support domain in the pre-K CLASS tool. You'll get clarity on what concept development really means, why not all conversations are feedback loops, and why some people mistakenly think children must initiate a quality of feedback conversation.
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me to explain what my company does. I get so excited and I start off with something like this: “Oh, we create professional development programs for teachers that are based around this assessment tool called CLASS (the Classroom Assessment Scoring System), which is all about observing how teachers interact with the students in their classrooms. You know, like, are the teachers maintaining a positive climate? Are they really clear in how they want their students to behave?”
. . . and I’ve just gotten a glazed-over look from whomever I'm speaking with. My excitement for CLASS results in too much information being thrown at them way too fast.
A CLASS Observation Training is an interactive, content-packed experience, and even the most enthusiastic participants may find it difficult to think clearly as they gather their notebooks to head home at the end of day two. Of course we understand how busy everyone is leading up to a training, so none of the below is technically required of you to attend the training. However, a few minutes of preparation can give you a framework for the CLASS knowledge you’re about to gain, enriching the experience for you and everyone around you!
At a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) Training in Florida, an instructor told a story about finding a coconut on the beach with her granddaughter. She asked her, “How do you think we can open it up?” Before her grandchild could respond, her husband chimed in with exact instructions. She laughed because of course she had been trying to get her granddaughter problem solving—not her husband! It’s so easy and natural for us to jump in with an answer. As teachers, we have to remind ourselves why we stand back—to give children the opportunity to build those higher-order thinking skills that are so important to school and life success.
I once gave a cohort of student teachers each a magic wand as they approached their graduation. My colleague Maggie and I told the soon-to-be-teachers that their wand wasn’t a tool for summoning a fairy godmother to their respective new classrooms (although they were instructed to keep in touch). The wand was intended to serve as a reminder that there is no magic formula in teaching; however, there is a sound, scientific recipe for success, which they had already become very familiar with: the CLASS tool.
Mary-Margaret and Sarah are back to explain more misperceptions of the CLASS tool. The Classroom Organization Domain primarily deals with managing time, behavior, and children's attention. Look out for these common mistakes:
While spending time doing CLASS observations around the country, I am particularly interested in how programs, directors, and teachers interpret the Regard for Student Perspectives dimension, with particular attention to the restriction of movement indicator. What does restricting movement have to do with showing regard for a child’s perspective? Wouldn’t it fit better with Behavior Management? And how does “allows movement” and “is not rigid” play out in the classroom without wreaking havoc and creating chaos?
"What is contingent responding?" one of our affiliate trainers asked me recently. In case you didn't know, contingent responding is one of the behavioral markers for the frequent conversation indicator in the Language Modeling CLASS dimension. We know this is a question that many have asked, so we thought that it would be a good question to address today.