Monday, January 16, 2012

Teacher Child Interactions

I have worked with children for the last eighteen years and have learned how important it was to provide excellent teacher child interactions. Many have shared that children who receive good teacher child interactions develop high social skills, lower symptoms of anxiety, depression and social withdrawal just to name a few. It has also been shared that high conflict teacher-child relationships have been linked with lower social skills in the areas of responsibility, cooperation, self-control and assertion.

Throughout my eighteen years of service with-in this field I thought this was something that all teachers realized was important. However working as a manager for the last thirteen years I have found out that this is an area that many overlook and do not make the connection to behavior and learning delay. This problem has been identified as such a road block that the office of Head Start has developed a tool to support “Teacher Child Interaction” which is called “CLASS”. You might be asking what dose "CLASS" mean. Well it means Classroom Assessment Scoring System.

This is a new tool that is being rolled out and that is currently big in the Head Start programs where teachers are being analyzed on their level of teacher child interaction. The content of “CLASS” was a shocker. When I first heard the word I thought it was something new that was being introduced but come to find out it was something that all Teachers regardless of  grade level should have been doing on a daily bases.

Utilizing this tool with-in the classroom showed a great concern because you realize that many teachers struggle with having on-going meaningful conversation with children. Teachers are missing the importance of asking open ended questions which strengthen language development and build knowledge awareness. Asking children questions where they are only able to provide a yes and no answer limits their language skills. Children need to be engaged so that their little minds are challenged to produce all knowledge retained.  

Obviously teachers are going to need ongoing support to develop skills and knowledge behind offering strong “Teacher Child Interactions”. Until next time I will like to say engage with your students in the most meaningful way and offer enough time to hear what they have to say.

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