Professional Development

Professional Development Goes for a Walk

By Liana Loewus — April 04, 2011 1 min read

Do the teachers at your school need to take a “learning walk”?

At a recent professional development conference, teachers and administrators from three districts in North Carolina extolled the virtues of the practice, which they said can weed out ineffective teachers and help effective ones spread their best practices.

During a learning walk, a small group of teachers goes from classroom to classroom to watch other teachers in action. The purpose is to observe—not necessarily evaluate—and to “steal” practices and methods that work.

When first implemented, the walks should take place at designated times so that teachers being observed can prepare for them, said one of the administrators who spoke on the topic at the 2010 annual conference for Learning Forward, a nonprofit organization focused on improving professional learning for teachers. Eventually, the walks can become more sporadic, the presenter said. Teachers and students learn to ignore the onlookers and continue with their assigned work.

The possibility that observers could come in at any time changes the school environment, the teachers—hailing from Macon County Schools in Cullowhee, Jackson County Public Schools in Sylva, and Swain County School District in Bryson City—agreed. Learning walks foster both collaboration and positive peer pressure. Teachers have to “up their game,” and those who are reluctant to do so tend to self-select out (that is, quit or retire early).

One teacher added that an open-door policy promotes the idea that the students are not “your” students, but “our” students.

The presenters emphasized that its critical to set one hard and fast ground rule before the walks—that teachers should focus on positive teacher actions in every room they visit rather than being critical.

A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2011 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Professional Development Some Kids Had a 'Choppy' K-12 Experience This Year. ISTE Will Explore Solutions
Big themes at this year's online-only ed-tech conference will include acceleration and finding K-12's way in a new, more virtual world.
2 min read
Image of a student working on a computer from home.
iStock/Getty
Professional Development How to Fix 7 Fatal Flaws in Tech Professional Development
One silver lining of the pandemic is that it forced some districts to rethink their PD priorities and find new ways of training teachers.
8 min read
A team analyses data and tracks progress
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
Professional Development Opinion How Can Coaches Use a Cycle of Inquiry to Establish Themselves and Help Others?
A cycle of inquiry can both help coaches establish themselves and help those they coach develop areas of improvement.
10 min read
shutterstock 546692113
Shuttestock
Professional Development Opinion 'A Professional Learning Community Is Not a Faculty, Grade Level, or Department Meeting'
Three educators wrap-up a four-part series on professional learning communities.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty