A creative way to approach school-wide learning is through the process of a learning walk to diagnose and evaluate areas of need in the school. This is a technique I learned first in the US, and more recently in Australian schools, and is an effective way to hone focus on a specific practice within a school.
The learning walks use observation to find patterns of strength and reveal practical next steps for improvement. Collaboratively, I work with your team of educators to:
- discuss the focus of the exercise
- guide them through the protocols to be used
- provide templates for walkers to document their observations
- lead a rigorous process to look for patterns of strengths
The outcome of a learning walk is to determine specific recommendations that can be used for ongoing professional learning and support.
Recent examples of successful learning walks have led to improvements in:
- Classroom libraries and anchor charts
- Independent reading and conferring
- Independent writing and conferring
- Small group instructional practices
- Reading and writing notebooks as a tool for formative assessment
- Explicit teaching within the mini-lesson