Learning Walks

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mister Teacher, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    Dec 17, 2007

    The new big thing this year -- Learning Walks.

    The concept behind learning walks is that a group of teachers will invade another teacher's classroom, presumably while said teacher is actually conducting a lesson. This unruly mob of educators will question the students about what they are learning and what tools they have to help them. They will also examine the classroom walls for evidence of the principles of learning. Perhaps at the same time, they will check to ensure that no more than 10% of the surface area is covered by paper products.

    OK, so I paint a bit of a sarcastic picture. Ideally, the mob of teachers will not be unruly. Not even a mob, even. A handful of teachers will observe another teacher in his/her own setting, to see another teacher's style and methods.

    Last Monday, I was one of three lucky teachers chosen to have a group of principals and teachers from other local schools come through my classroom during a science lesson. To put it mildly, this sort of thing makes me feel very self-conscious. I think that the walk-through went well, and my principal said that the other teachers enjoyed it, but it was a pretty nerve-racking process for me.

    Especially when I saw one of the other teachers (principals?) asking my lowest group of kids who normally writes for their group when Mister Teacher doesn't tell them who should write. I'm sure she felt the need to ask them this, since they were busy arguing over who was going to write, instead of actually doing the activity. Not much accountable talk coming from that group.

    Tomorrow, I get to be a walkER instead of a walkEE. The third-grade teachers will be doing learning walks through the OTHER two science classrooms that were observed last Monday.

    Can't wait!!
     
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  3. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Dec 17, 2007

    We are doing these this year too, but I love them. I get good suggestions back - like what could you have done to get those students transitioned into the activity more quickly? I think we teach behind closed doors too often and it is sad. I would say get used to people strolling in - its definitely the "next thing."
     
  4. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    Dec 17, 2007

    The thing is, we're not going to get any feedback. The admin doesn't want anyone to take comments the wrong way, since they're supposed to be "non-judgemental" so we just won't see any of the comments.
    But our principal will supposedly compile all of the comments into one generic overview at the end of the year.

    Yeah.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 17, 2007

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I think it would a great thing if you were getting feedback from those visiting your room, but if no personal feedback is given, then I don't see the point of doing this. What part of TX is this in because I want to stay away. :)

    The idea is great if immediate feedback is given and would not mind that at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2007
  6. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Dec 18, 2007

    We have these in our rooms once a week at least. We call them data walks.
    Later we get grouped feedback about the school. I have found that no one cares about the feedback though. There is nothing about excuses. (They didn't see that because I did it later. Well, I must be one of the 10% doing that etc.)
    THis our second year of this craziness!
     
  7. GoehringTeaches

    GoehringTeaches Comrade

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    Dec 18, 2007

    These things are SO big right now in our area. They call them "walk throughs". They have something to do with the state's "Keys to Quality" program. Personally, I don't think they accomplish anything.
     
  8. cinaminsweet

    cinaminsweet Companion

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    Dec 22, 2007

    We have them here in Maryland, too. A waste of time.
     
  9. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Dec 23, 2007

    We have them in my part of TX too (DFW), our district calls them "Focused Walk Throughs". They sound exactly like what the OP described, but we get immediate feedback. As soon as the time is up the teacher being observed and the mob observing leave and go to a conference room to "de-brief". The whole thing was originally planned for the low performing schools (ie "not recognized" for those in TX). We went from "acceptable" to "recognized" last year and the focused walk throughs went away- Hallelujah!
     
  10. Amers

    Amers Cohort

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    Dec 23, 2007

    We started something similar at my school this year. We each choose a teacher to observe and complete a form on the lesson we observed. Most of the other teachers in my hall didn't really do it. I observed my mentor teacher for about 15 minutes, but we have very similar teaching styles, so I didn't really get anything from it. She asked me about a lesson I did, but she didn't actually observe me.

    Honestly, I don't like it. Like the OP, I get very self-conscious when people are critiquing my lesson. It's my first year, and I'm confident in front of my kids, but I'm still working on the confidence factor in front of other teachers in my room.

    One difference with our walk throughs is that we are NOT there to critique (supposedly), just observe. The way the form is laid out though, suggests otherwise!
     
  11. Mister Teacher

    Mister Teacher Companion

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    Dec 23, 2007

    Vanna, I work in Dallas as well. And the observed teacher doesn't go to the de-brief, but the observers do.
    Like I said, I don't like it too much...
     
  12. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Dec 23, 2007

    We had those at my former school, but it wasn't a group of teachers, it was the principal. She had to wear this little plastic badge so that we knew when she was in there for a walk through or just in there to visit. Waste of time as she never did it and we had to go to several meetings explaining the procedures.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 23, 2007

    We don't have the 'walks' but we do have the ability to go observe another teacher teach. We would set an appointment with another teacher to observe something we would like to learn that he/she does (literacy centers, word work, a science lesson, etc...) and the principal will arrange coverage for our class if the lesson we are observing is not during our prep time. I consider it an honor when someone wants to see me teach. I love what I do, I'm passionate about it. I love sharing ideas with other professionals in my school. We can always learn something new when we watch someone else teach. View these visits as an opportunity to 'show your stuff' and to learn something about yourself and others.
     
  14. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 24, 2007

    Must be the newest great thing in education. We've been doing both versions (mobs coming in and "peer observations") for a few years.

    I prefer being able to talk to the teacher, but of course I can't stop what I'm doing. I usually find some time to go over and explain something, or ask how they do something in their classroom.

    There was a vice principal that I didn't like very much who came in frequently. I kept asking him to help so-and-so, and he stopped coming in. I think it was right after I told him to help a group of kids with a science experiment regarding making circuits with batteries. That was fun. (for me, not him.) I don't think he's in education anymore.
     
  15. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    Dec 24, 2007

    I would but, our system has one administrator come to observe you for 5-7 minutes once or twice a week and you never get to talk to anyone about it. We are just given school wide data at the end of each marking period. It's bad when they come in too since they lean down and talk to the kids to see if they know what they are learning. This causes a problem with my young guys since they are easily distracted to start with. It is a pointless exercise in my school (some of the other ways it is being done seem better though.)
     

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