Monday, February 23, 2009

Classroom Walkthroughs: Supporting Teaching and Learning?

Classroom walkthroughs are an effective means to support powerful learning for all stakeholders. The intent is that administration, and teacher leaders, visit all classrooms 2 to 4 times a week (depending on building size), and time in classrooms is 3 minutes. The intent is to support and monitor school improvement initiatives for good instruction and learning.

Teachers benefit from administration understanding the challenges and celebrations of instruction. There is a deeper knowledge of what resources instructors may need. Most importantly, reflection sessions after several visits can lead to teachers realizing their effectiveness and areas to expand their repoirtore of tools.

The role of administrator is observer coach, not evaluator. Doing walkthroughs raises awareness of areas of good practice, where systems are being implemented, and support needs. Administrators and observing teacher leaders deepen their knowledge by asking questions based on the lesson's objective(s) and assessment.

Students are the big winners as initiatives are implemented as intended, and instructional practices are honed. The result is that the educators get a good sense of what's really working, what needs to be changed, and what should be let go.

Walkthroughs support the addage: What gets monitored gets done. Too often initiatives are "implemented." Teacher leaders spend many hours planning and in-servicing the staff, or paid consultants conduct workshops, and then behind closed doors the initiatives are paid lip service. Which leads to another addage: This too shall pass.

There are good resources available. One is The Three Minute Classroom Walkthrough.
Another resource is this info packet, included is a walkthrough form.