Effective classroom walkthroughs are an essential part of any school improvement effort. They provide principals with insight into what’s happening in classrooms daily and allow instructional coaches to identify areas where teachers may need additional support. But in order for walkthroughs to be effective, they need to be embraced by everyone in the school community – from administrators to teachers to support staff. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to foster a school culture that supports classroom walkthroughs.
- Communicate the Purpose of Classroom Walkthroughs
The first step in fostering a school culture that supports classroom walkthroughs is to ensure that everyone understands the purpose of these observations. Classroom walkthroughs should not be used as a tool for punishment or criticism; rather, they should be seen as an opportunity for reflection and growth. When administrators and instructional coaches take the time to sit down with teachers and discuss their observations, it sends the message that everyone is working together towards the common goal of student success.
- Encourage Teacher Reflectiveness
After each classroom walkthrough, it’s important to debrief with the teacher and discuss what was observed. This is an opportunity for the teachers to reflect on their practice and identify areas of strength as well as areas for improvement. The conversation should be collaborative, with both the administrator and the teacher being open to feedback. It’s also important to create a safe environment where teachers feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and suggestions – this is best done when administrators make it clear that they are there to support, not criticize.
- Schedule Time for Classroom Walkthroughs
In order for classroom walkthroughs to be effective, they need to be conducted on a regular basis. We recommend scheduling at least one observation per week for each teacher. This will ensure that all classrooms are being observed regularly and that any problems or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner.
- Follow Up After Each Walkthrough principal cannot simply conduct a walkthrough and then forget about it; follow-up is essential in order to ensure that instruction is improved as a result of the observations made during the walkthrough itself. We suggest following up with each teacher within 24 hours of completing the observation in order to discuss what was observed and identify next steps moving forward.
When done correctly, classroom walkthroughs can be an invaluable tool in any school improvement effort. By taking the time to foster a positive school culture that supports these observations, you can set your team up for success!