Research indicates that routine classroom walkthroughs by instructional leaders that can have significant impact on teaching and learning in schools (Marshall, 2003; Protheroe, 2009). However, our busy- and sometimes unpredictable- schedules sometimes hinder our ability to consistently prioritize school walkthroughs. With this in mind, ILM offers offers one of our favorite tools and five researched-based principles to ensure every walkthrough is efficient, productive, and bears results.
5 Keys to Re-imagining Walkthroughs
- Develop Your Walkthrough Team: There is strength in collaboration! Before entering classrooms, identify a fellow administrator, instructional coach, and even teachers who can serve as a thought partners during the walkthrough. The expertise and diversity of perspectives will assist in identifying strengths and gaps that need to be addressed to improve teaching and learning in the school community.
- Identify Purpose: Select a specific purpose for accomplishing the school walkthrough. Is it to collect data on teacher actions? Student outcomes in a specific grade or across grades? Is it to determine trends with curriculum implementation? Use current data, academic performance targets, and input from stakeholders to determine the purpose of the visit before scheduling the school walkthrough.
- Focus: Once in classrooms, be sure to focus on the task at hand. Silence your phone and resist the temptation to answer emails! In addition, be sure to commit the purpose set before the classroom by collecting data that aligns to the overarching purpose set for the school walkthrough. One way to ensure a clear focus during walkthroughs is to identify a role for each observer. Check out the Walkthrough Guide below to read the types of roles that can be divvied among participants!
- Reflect On Data: Schedule time post-school walkthrough to discuss the data that surfaced during the classroom visits. One strategy, the SWOT Analysis, can be utilized to chart strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on chart paper.
- Act Fast: Couple your reflection with immediately developing an action plan to address high-lever trends. Identify key stakeholders, actions, and timeline to determine effectiveness of the action plan. Be sure to act efficiently and urgently, minimizing potential downtime between noticing the trend and responding to it!
To support in targeted and outcomes-driven walkthroughs, ILM has developed a Walkthrough Guide for our school partners. Utilize the tool below in your next schoolwalkthrough. Let us know how this tool informed your work!