We talk parallel process all the time in the hallways (and virtual hallways) at Teachstone. The topic is embedded in our CLASS Feedback training, and it’s all the rage in our Fundamentals of Coaching e-book. So we know that parallel process is important in coaching relationships, but what about in a training like CLASS Observation?
During the dimension discussion of Instructional Learning Formats in a CLASS Observation Training, I often find myself needing to clarify the difference between the indicators of Effective Facilitation and Clarity of Learning Objectives. My participants have pointed out that both indicators talk about the teacher asking questions, and if the teacher is effective, shouldn’t learning objectives then be obvious?
If she could have tabbed the page where the Barbie Dream House was located, she would have! Read on to learn how our CLASS Specialist, Tracy Jones, likes to introduce the CLASS manual in her trainings!
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a beautiful little girl named Tracy. She had big brown eyes and dimples, just like her daddy. At the beginning of every October, Tracy would race home every day after school to check the mail. She was waiting for two things that were very special and only arrived by mail once a year: The Sears Roebuck Christmas Catalog and the J.C.Penney Christmas Catalog!
We CLASS Specialists are always thinking about the complexity of the CLASS tool as we prepare for our trainings. As a trained CLASS observer myself, I am comfortable observing and recognizing quality interactions that fit in the tool. But I needed a strategy to convey this information to a group of teachers that may not be as familiar with the tool. As it turns out, using an analogy is a perfect way to make the complex relatable, less overwhelming, and more familiar to our participants.
I have a confession to make. I loathe football. Yes, it’s true. I have spent my life surrounded by football-watching brothers, cousins, sons, and husbands and I don’t understand the first thing about it. I live in Louisiana in the heart of SEC territory. I truly cannot count the number or types of football games I’ve been to: powder-puff, flag, pee-wee, high school varsity, junior varsity, college, arena, professional, and even a prison game! I still know nothing about the game except that I yell when everyone else does and I love the New Orleans Saints (due to a childhood, okay, adult crush on Archie Manning).
In 2009, I became certified as an affiliate Pre-K CLASS trainer! I remember preparing for my first CLASS observation training. I was a little overwhelmed at the length of time and the amount of material I had to cover over two days. I had conducted hundreds of trainings before, but they were different topics over a shorter period of time.
I remember the first time I walked out my house and saw the used 2000 GMC Yukon that my dad had purchased for me. It was bright red and huge compared to my 5’3” self. There was just one small problem—I didn’t know how to drive. The agreement was that the car would be mine if I passed the driver’s test. I thought to myself, “How hard could it be? I have seen people drive my entire life!”
I, like so many others, suffer from anxiety. When I first started training full time for Teachstone, the anxiety I suffered the day before CLASS training was almost debilitating. After nearly two years of full-time training, I still have pre-training anxiety, but I’ve learned a few tricks to help me cope. Maybe they’ll help you too.