Does your school conduct (or plan to conduct) learning walks?
Learning walks are an important way for teaching teams to learn from each other, reflect on their practice and strengthen their approach.
But the challenge can be this ☞ Everyone having different ideas on what to observe 👀.
If you’re school’s conducting them, there are 3 actions to take to strengthen them.
Plus, these actions can unleash your school’s teaching potential and help your school move from good to GREAT.
ACTION 1: EMBED A SCHOOL-WIDE TEACHING AND LEARNING MISSION
Being an effective captain of a sailing ship requires a few things. First, the captain must know where he or she wants to go. The mission (destination) informs how the captain sails his or her ship.
That same is true for effective teachers. When your teaching teams know their teaching and learning mission (destination), they’ll engage in teaching and learning in ways based on it.
To have effective learning walks, first, be sure to have a school-wide teaching and learning mission.
ACTION 2: ENSURE YOU HAVE A TEACHING AND LEARNING SYSTEM
Being an effective sailor requires something else. Once he or she knows the destination, he or she must know how to use the ship to reach that destination.
In fact, effective sailors see their ship as one system and know how to use all parts of that system to reach the destination.
When your school has a teaching and learning mission and system, you’re providing your teaching team with the destination and the ship to use to reach it.
Learning walks become powerful tools to observe how people are using their ships to reach that destination.
ACTION 3: ASK THESE TWO QUESTIONS
With a mission and system in place, you’ve got a common language around teaching and learning. And learning walks are a tool to help strengthen the use of both.
During the walks, here are two questions to always ask.
1. What’s working well?
Only observe what’s working well. Create a list. Reflect on it. Talk about it as a team. Success can create more success and help empower everyone. With a teaching and learning system, you have a common language to observe what’s working well.
2. What will help us move from good to great?
At the end of the walks and after sharing what’s working well, create a list of items that everyone thinks would help them move from good to great.
Specifically, what part of the teaching and learning system would teachers or leaders want to focus on to move from good to great?
And how would they strengthen the use of that part of the system?
Invite everyone to share. Create conversations about these items. Ask everyone when they’ll take action.
Conducting learning walks are a powerful tool to unleash your school’s teaching potential.
It’s also what helps a good school become a great school. To make this happen, first, ensure you’ve got the right teaching and learning mission and system in place. Then focus on the two questions listed above.