I had the pleasure of presenting a session on the CLASS at a recent conference. Before beginning, I was doing my usual checks to be sure that everything was ready, that participants were getting signed in, and that no one was roaming the hallway trying to locate the session. As I stood near the doorway, two teachers approached and inquired about the session saying, “Will you be explaining how we do CLASS?”
As we chatted, I learned that they had been told by their director that they needed to “do CLASS this year,” and they wanted to know specifically how to do it. It was not the first time I have heard the question or heard people talking about how they “do CLASS” in their school or organization. But for some reason, on that particular day, this really got me thinking: Is CLASS just something that we do?
As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of working in a childcare center that was seeking to achieve accreditation. When we worried about everything that had to be done, the center director reassured us by saying, “Quality is not something that we are doing. It’s who we are. If we are a quality program, then we are quality day in and day out, and there is nothing that we need to say or do any differently when someone is visiting in our program.” What if we applied that notion to CLASS?
Imagine if we could somehow shift how we talk with others about the CLASS tool. That rather than conveying it’s something to be done, we convey that it’s a mindset. Instead of issuing directives to “use CLASS”, we recognize that we are investing in resources that will help our teachers to “become CLASS.” What if we could help every adult who works in classrooms to adopt the notion that CLASS is not something additional to add to their “to-do list” each day, but CLASS behaviors are how they interact with children each day? Nothing needs to be said or done differently when someone is visiting our classrooms, because we don’t just do CLASS, we ARE CLASS!
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.