Learning Walks: Structured Observation for Teachers



– [Teacher] What's another strategy? – Uh, area model. – [Teacher] Area model, okay
who wants to do an area model? – [Narrator] Because the
Lab school staff gets regular opportunities to
participate in learning walks, both as participants and also as hosts, it really strengthens the
culture of the school, helps build the shard vision and allows a spirit of
continuous learning. – The Lab school is located
on a university campus, in the College of Education and we have a dual mission to serve the children at the school, which is currently kindergarten
through grade eight as well as pre-service teachers. – Learning Walks is a
big part of our mission. It gives people who are
teaching in our school as well as people who are
learning how to be teachers the opportunity to watch
other people teach, which you don't generally get casue you're in your classroom
teaching all the time. – [Margaret] A Learning Walk is just a structured observation through a school. It's used for continuous
growth and improvement. It is important that all
teachers get to experience what it's like to observe in
other teacher's classrooms and learn from others as
well as to have teachers come in and visit them
and learn from them. – I really like Learning Walks, especially as a fairly new
teacher to this building. It's really helped me gain perspective on what my students have experienced. It facilitates this, we're
all in this together, what can we learn from each other? Some of the times the best
things that are going on are happening in your own building and you might miss them because you're doing your own thing too. – He can run at a rate
of 11 feet per second. – The Learning Walks follow
a pretty specific protocol. It starts with an overview of the process and sets some parameters
for participation. Thanks everyone for joining
our Learning Walk team today. A focus is identified
for the Learning Walks and it can be a really broad focus, like teaching and learning or a pretty specific focus,
like classroom management. Today's Learning Walk focus
is going to be on Math. We're going to be looking at the power of mistakes and struggle, rich mathematical tasks and
assessment for a growth mindset. Learning Walk participant's role is to observe what's happening and know that they're going to get
an opportunity to talk about those things later but to avoid making
judgements and to reframe any kind of thinking along
those lines into questions. – Did you understand Miles' answer? – Yes. – How would you know
that you made a mistake? – [Margaret] Participants
are encouraged to take notes and jot down what they
observe, what they see, what they hear and also
what their questions are, things they wonder about. It gives us a snapshot of
other teacher's teaching. – How many do I have across here? – 14. – And it reminds us of, oh
they did an exit ticket, I really keep forgetting to do those, I need to pull those back in. You know, we catch those little things because we're always watching
and trying to get new ideas. The Learning Walk for teachers, I think is really beneficial. – I do carry a timer
and I rely on that timer to keep the Learning Walk moving. After going through
all of the observations is a time for reflection and we generally start
the reflection process by having a few broad
reflection questions. Take a minute and look over
the reflection questions. Reflection is probably the most valuable part of the Learning Walk. One of my favorite
reflection questions is, does anyone want to start
and share any questions, wonderings, surprises that you noticed? – Kindergartners, when they
were done with the task, they partner up with the next person done and I added that to my ideas that I might apply in my classroom, I
thought that was really neat. – Anything that you would
recommend to be changed? – I would always like to see, like two minutes longer in each class. – The amount of time is always hard but the benefit of going
to six different classrooms in a short amount of time is that you get a glimpse of many classrooms instead of an extended observation of one and now you know where
you might want to go back and do some more observing
in that specific classroom. – This is the first Learning
Walk that I've been on. It was clear after
being on this today that it's a powerful tool
because I could see what my colleagues were doing
in grades behind me and then grades all the
way up to middle school. So I can see where I fit in that picture. – What would the clock look like up here? And then when we get here, it would be… – You know, I never get to
step outside and go next door and see what my colleagues are doing. I'm always here so, I think that's really powerful. – These are fifth graders, right? – It's amazing how when
teachers go into classrooms, even if they're different levels and different content
areas from what they teach, what they can learn from each other and I've never had a Learning Walk where people didn't walk away with some ideas about something new that they saw, something they want to try, something that they were interested in.

7 thoughts on “Learning Walks: Structured Observation for Teachers”

  1. This is incredible! I love learning from my colleagues and seeing them in action. We're able to observe any classroom at our site and beyond. Our principal highly encourages it and we are grateful to be able to learn from others.

  2. Great tool to grow through observations of other teachers' tools, strategies, and content presentational techniques! I will share this with teachers in our school to build our crafts! Thank you.

  3. It does feel like 5 min. is too short. I understand the rationale, but 10 – 15 min. seems more optimal. There's limited time to observe, but I'd personally prefer longer observation sessions.

  4. Five minutes seems like very little time to have a truly meaningful observation. I understand the thought behind it, but I would think the depth of one observation would bring a richer concept of how practices are implemented.

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