Learning Walks [...]

AITSL defines a learning walks as:

A group of teachers visiting multiple classrooms at their own school with the aim of fostering conversation about teaching and learning in order to develop a shared vision of high quality teaching that impacts on student learning>(Source)

For Lyn Sharrett, learning walks offer a means of leaders collecting data that can then be used in conversation with teachers:

School leaders who do daily Learning Walks and Talks (Sharratt & Fullan, 2009, 2012; Sharratt & Harild, 2015, Sharratt & Planche, 2016 (In Press)) gather evidence of teachers’ intentional teaching and of students’ improvement when they ask students the five questions above. Students who can accurately describe their learning, and how to improve, close the achievement gap. After many walks, conversations with teachers ensue. Leaders ask authentic questions about why teachers make the decisions they make. Leaders also take action if teaching is not occurring at a competent or preferably high-impact level. Action must be taken if students are not progressing at an expected rate (Sharratt & Harild, 2015, Chapter 4). (Source)

There are many models associated with the idea of learning walks. Jon Andrews talks about the learning walk being a way to connect with what is going on through the school:

for the first time in a while, I had the chance to walk a route through school with prospective parents, verbalise the life and culture of the school, celebrate the many valuable contributions people make, appreciate what we have, all because I was talking about places, spaces, resources etc. that we passed. I understand that the values and life of the school are encoded in the behaviour of people, built form, activities that occur and routines that play out. I genuinely had to enjoy the moment, but also pause to appreciate what was around me and acknowledge that I do not get out and about enough.(Source)

Jason Borton shares how he implemented walkthroughts as a means of gathering collective data to then reflect upon as a staff:

Once the scoreboard was agreed upon we set about implementing a system of peer observation known as Educational Walkthroughs. The Walkthroughs are designed to gather information about the practices that are visible in classrooms and are described as our scoreboard statements. The analysis of the information collected is not intended to give individual feedback to teachers but to provide whole school information about strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of formative assessment strategies... A high level of trust among staff is important to ensure the authenticity and success of the Walkthrough process. It is seen as a supportive way to ensure that we hold each other accountable for achieving our scoreboard. Having executive staff take classes and be observed means we are ‘walking the talk’ along with classroom teachers. This point is not to be underestimated as a critical aspect of our success.(Source)

Amy Burvall uses learning walks to provide a remix to the traditional professional development session to start the year where teachers go walkabout and learn from each other:

What if we were able to visit other divisions and departments and do a little ethnography? What if teachers could give tours of their classrooms, sharing examples of student work, discussing the learning spaces and their pedagogy? What if we participated in some cool activity, just like we were students in their classes? What if the “host” teacher had some specific issues, problems, or questions they could crowdsource answers to? What if we were able to give formal feedback such as a Wow! How? Now… strategy? (Source)

DET provides some aspects to consider when implementing learning walks:

Before undertaking a learning walk program, you should establish an agreed set of learning walk protocols and processes. You should consider three fundamental questions: Why are we doing this? Who will participate? What protocols will guide the program? A hastily introduced learning walk program has the potential to arouse frustration amongst staff. However, with careful planning and the input of all concerned, your learning walk can make a significant contribution to the professional knowledge and practices of your organisation and others.(Source)

These considerations can be applied to any model.

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