Class Visitations

So, it’s the time of year where the people in my department start lining up class visits with adjuncts, which is always kind of hectic and kind of fun and highly educational, with that last part leading me to wonder how I can figure out how to get into more people’s classrooms and not just on my floor.

Has anybody out there done anything like this before?

Groups conducting rounds are best kept small—from three to five teachers, not counting the lead teacher. On the scheduled observation day, teachers being observed should alert their students that several teachers will visit their classroom. They might explain that the teachers are trying to learn from one another, just as students do.

When the observing teachers arrive, they should knock at the door and then quietly move to the back of the classroom, to some spot that doesn’t disrupt the flow of instruction. There they observe and take notes regarding the teacher’s use of specific instructional strategies. On an individual level, teachers can watch for strategies of particular interest to them, such as how the teacher uses questioning strategies or graphic organizers. Or the observation may have a common focus. For example, for one set of rounds, a school or district might decide that everyone will examine how a teacher communicates instructional objectives to students and keeps these objectives in the forefront of students’ minds throughout the lesson.

With focus areas identified, observing teachers record what they see during the 10 to 15 minutes that a round typically lasts. Observing teachers do not score teachers on a rubric. Rather, they take notes on teacher behaviors that relate to the observation focus areas. At the end of the observation, the observing team exits the classroom, making sure to thank the teacher and students.

Here is a suggested Protocol for conducting them. Anybody interested?