While “Learning Walks” may serve as a valuable tool for professional development, school improvement, and accountability in the educational setting, how the observation data is shared with the staff is critical. The nature of these feedback sessions can determine whether it contributes to a culture of ongoing learning and improvement or a mechanism of criticism and disappointment.
At NCUST we use an “Affirmative Learning Walk” protocol to focus on the collective strengths of the staff and share recommendations for continual improvement. Both strengths and recommendations are based upon 16 years of identifying, awarding, and studying elementary, middle, and high schools that generate outstanding results for all demographic groups of students. Our findings as a result of using this tool help district leaders and campus leaders understand how their school is similar to and different from the award-winning schools NCUST has identified and studied. Additionally, our method of sharing this data has been found to elevate the staff’s motivation and receptiveness, which are key factors in elevating collective teacher efficacy.
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