As online instruction becomes more and more likely to continue in the 2020-21 academic year, data has taken on a critical role in the urgent need to stop the COVID slide from widening. From identifying gaps in educator practice to monitoring the equity of instruction across campuses, collecting data about online instruction is essential to understanding what’s happening in the classroom.
Virtual walkthroughs can provide clear, actionable feedback about how professional learning efforts are translating into practice. Check out our top 7 tips for creating a walkthrough program in your district’s online classrooms — or download the free guide of practical look-fors adapted from the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.
Tip 1: Emphasize Self-Reflection
Walkthroughs that are implemented well promote self-reflection at multiple levels. Educators, coaches, building leaders and district administrators have much to gain by continually asking “Why does this happen?” Intentionally spur this kind of thinking by including open-response questions such as “Glows and Grows” (“What areas of strengths did you observe?” / “What is one bite-sized next step you would recommend to improve student learning?”) on walkthrough forms.
Tip 2: Align Look-Fors to PD Goals to Identify Gaps in Practice
When designing your walkthrough, explicitly align look-fors to your professional learning goals. Think of this way: what would you need to see in a classroom to know your PL was successful? Answering the question “So what happened next?” tells us if PD supports are translating into the classroom.
Tip 3: Put Trust-Building First for Remote Teams
Regular walkthroughs can make school leaders more visible, engaged, and knowledgeable about the state of instruction in the school—an opportunity to build trust in leadership, and simultaneously a risk to morale if the foundation of trust isn’t there. Be transparent about how data from the walkthroughs will be used. Will it be anonymized or named? What follow-up will occur? How will the data be shared back with teachers? Answering these questions openly at the onset of a new walkthrough program is critical.