My personal feelings about walkthroughs (don’t quote me on this 🙂 ) If a Principal or leadership team is in the classrooms everyday (or as much as possible) and working with their teaching team then they should be able to naturally talk about what is going on and what to work on without a formal process. I do understand that from a Lead Principal’s perspective they are not in all their schools everyday and it provides them with an opportunity to see what is going on. It is also useful to have others opinions on what they see. I won’t be pushing anyone to volunteer to have these walk through visits but if you are interested I will endeavour to make it work for you as a professional learning experience. Some more research below:
Some of the research from Jane L. David (http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/dec07/vol65/num04/Classroom_Walk-Throughs.aspx)
What’s the Idea?
The idea behind walk-throughs is that firsthand classroom observations can paint a picture to inform improvement efforts. These observations typically involve looking at how well teachers are implementing a particular program or set of practices that the district or school has adopted. For example, a school principal might want to know whether teachers are able to put into practice their recent training on quick-writes and pair-shares.
In theory, before visiting classrooms, observers decide what they will focus on, what evidence they will collect, and how they will make sense of it. Afterward, they report their findings formally or informally to one or more audiences.
Walk-throughs are not intended to evaluate individual teachers or principals or even to identify them by name in postobservation reports. Rather, the goals of walk-throughs are to help administrators and teachers learn more about instruction and to identify what training and support teachers need.
What’s the Reality?
The sheer variety of walk-throughs is breathtaking. They can last from 2 to 45 minutes. The group observing may range from 2 to 12 people and may include teachers, administrators, community members, and students. Walk-throughs can focus on one teacher, all teachers, or a subset of teachers and schools.
Observers sometimes question students to find out whether they understand what they are doing in the lesson and why. In other cases, observers focus on a particular instructional challenge raised by the teachers under observation: for example, use of questioning techniques and wait time. Or, in a version of walk-throughs verging on compliance monitoring, observers are armed with a checklist on which to record how the classroom furniture is arranged and whether the teacher has posted state standards targeted by the lesson.
Sometimes observers huddle in the hall to discuss what they saw and later send a written report to the school. In other cases, they meet with the faculty to share their findings and then shred their notes at the end of the day to reinforce the point that their purpose is not to evaluate teachers.