Its almost the middle of summer. If you are adept at relaxing, then performing walkthroughs is probably the last thing on your mind. However, eventually the summer will end, school will begin again, and if you are a school leader, the question that will arise in your mind should be, “Are you putting enough focus on classroom walkthroughs?”.
“In order to receive the highest benefit from walkthroughs, they must be done properly.”
Also known as Classroom Observations and Learning Walks, among other names, this process is an integral tool for the professional development of school teachers. Therefore classroom walkthroughs should be a large focus for all school leaders. Just for fun, lets go over some of the major aspects which increase the benefit of conducting these walkthroughs:
- The feedback received by the Principal and the Teacher from this process is the number one driver of professional development for educators. The majority of teachers also enjoy the feedback process, because the school leader conducting the observation can laud their strengths and provide guidance on their perceived weaknesses. If conducted correctly, the feedback process is arguably the most beneficial component of the classroom walkthrough.
- This process is unannounced, so school leaders can have a genuine view of what each classroom looks like on a general basis. The authenticity of it all is one of the strongest benefits of the classroom walkthrough that all other evaluations cannot duplicate.
- Classroom walkthroughs do not take long to do. You only need to observe a class for about 2-3 minutes. This can differ from person to person, but its a quick process, especially if you use eWalk.
- They’re very easy to conduct. Considering the usefulness of the classroom walkthrough, this is a very easy way to improve several important aspects of your school.
- It gets you out of your office and into the school
In order to receive the highest benefit from walkthroughs, they must be done properly. High School Principal and fellow writer, Sean Kelly, has written a wealth of articles on the subject of conducting classroom walkthroughs with tips and tricks to get the most out of the procedure. Specifically, be sure to read his three part series on “Using Classroom Walkthroughs to Help Teachers Become Better Educators”, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
And if you would like even more information on conducting proper classroom walkthroughs, these sites provide an additional insight on Classroom Walkthroughs and School Leadership as a whole:
NEPC’s Best of Education Blog – An article by a teacher in Palm Beach County on how they are evaluated.