In this section we provide ways to collect information that yield insights into students’ overall experience at school and to develop an understanding of the range of professional expertise in a school. As a complement to shadowing students,which provides an approach to observing learning interactions in a range of classrooms, you’ll consider how to visit a number of classrooms in a brief period of time with colleagues in order to collect data that contributes to the collective enterprise of a school. If students are bored in one class and highly motivated in another, this influences their overall attitude toward school.
Even with careful preparation, there is a fine line between teacher empowerment and professional vulnerability. Our goal is to support intrinsic motivation among adults as well as K–12 learners. Therefore, it is helpful to elicit teacher feedback on how to structure the process and to understand the purposes and core values for this process. All of the activities in this section are intended to involve teachers in planning their school’s walk-through approach.
CLASSROOM WALK-THROUGH OVERVIEW
What is it?
An approach to observing a number of classrooms in a brief period of time. Although the purposes vary, the approach on this website is for visitors and teachers whose classrooms are visited to gain perspective on attributes and challenges to teaching and learning. Steps to Classroom Walk-Throughs
Why are we doing it?
Schools and school districts ultimately need to grapple with this question for themselves. We believe that classroom walk-throughs can contribute to valuable conversations about instructional priorities, coaching, program planning, and professional development.
What are we looking for in an observation?
Once again, this varies according to the purposes of the walk-throughs. Some schools take into consideration the following:
Teaching Objective/Learning Expectation - Is the objective/expectation appropriate and
aligned with state standards/district curriculum? Is the objective/expectation
communicated to the student in “student-friendly” language verbally or visually? Is the
teacher teaching to the objective/expectation?
Target - Is the lesson on target for the grade level/ needs of the students (if below or
above grade level)?
Text & Materials - Are the materials and related classroom resources appropriate and
supportive of the learning objective(s)? Are the materials differentiated according to
Instructional Strategies - What is the teacher doing? Whole group, small group, or
individual approaches? Direct or facilitated approaches? Integrating technology?
Learner Engagement - What are the students doing? Are they conscious of the learning
objective/expectation? Are they actively engaged, merely compliant, or obviously bored?
Learning Environment - What does the classroom look like? Are there displays, word
walls, etc. that support the learning activities? Are there displays of student work? Are
there resources, technology, classroom libraries, etc.?
Research Supporting Classroom Walk-Through