Learning to See, Unlearning to Judge – Instructional Rounds: The ‘By-Product’ and ‘Inner-Think’!

I’m not surprised my posts on Instructional Rounds are being read. Since writing this I’ve been a classroom teacher being visited as part of the Rounds process at my previous school and visited many classrooms myself. Either experiences are very valuable for a teacher.

Today was my last day as a member of an Instructional Rounds Pilot group. The pilot group was the Southern Metropolitan Region (Victoria, Australia) principals.

It’s been a great experience and has given me an enormous amount to reflect upon in terms of my own practice. I have been very fortunate to be involved in this pilot, and as a classroom teacher, it’s the by-product of Rounds that has made me have aninner-think’ into my own practice.

Instructional Rounds follows a strict set of protocols. Look down, not up! It is about the practice not the teacher.

Identification of a ‘Problem of Practice’ by a school.

The term ‘Problem’ explained – not negative

The term:’ Problem’ – refers to a scientific problem to observe

‘Problem’ is a neutral term.

The Problem of Practice – must:

Focuses on the Instructional Core (student- teacher – content: Interaction)

Be observable

Be actionable

Connects to a broader strategy

Be high-leverage: able to make significant difference

Is not too vague, not too specific – doesn’t stop open- ended evidence

Learning to see, Unlearning to judge: Observations must be non-judgemental

“The discipline of description is the core practice on which rounds are based….” (Elmore)

Describe what you see

Be specific (fine-grained)

Pay attention to the instructional core (teacher, student, content)

Evidence must be related to the problem of practice

Stay in the descriptive mode; look down – not up, focus on students, not the teacher

 The By-Product & Inner-think!

 Predicted Next Level of Practice

Prompt: Describe what it would look like if the school had solved the Problem of Practice?

What would:

Teachers be doing?

Students be doing?

What would the tasks look like?

It’s the discussions around the ‘Predicted Next Level of Practice’ that I have reflected on deeply. When visiting my classroom what would be observed? What am I doing? What are my student’s doing? What do my tasks look like? When planning, I’m now reflecting on these questions, making changes and feel as a result my own practice has improved. This is the by-product and why I believe it is essential that classroom teachers, regardless of experience need to be included in future Rounds.

If you get an opportunity to be part of an Instructional Round or are in a school where a Round is taking place, please embrace Rounds. I’ve been the observer this time, but I’m sure in the not so distant future my practice will be observed too.

Cheers Nina


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6 responses to “Learning to See, Unlearning to Judge – Instructional Rounds: The ‘By-Product’ and ‘Inner-Think’!

  1. Pingback: Learner Agency & the Instructional Core | Nina Davis -Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom

  2. markwalker

    Hi Nina,
    As an old “instructional rounder” I was beginning to experiment with how we collect common data sets in observations which for me was interesting as it took out who saw what issues but ultimately anywhere you get professional reflective non judgemental educators talking about instruction and learning its always a positive. So likewise – join in.

    • nina davis

      The key is non-judgemental educators combined with how a school uses their collected data. The minute a teacher breaks protocols the future of rounds at that school is doomed. This was not the case at my previous school but I have had teachers tell me that despite what was said, they felt threatened. Teachers are an interesting beast. Ultimately, it is a competitive system which in itself makes the notion of non-judgemental difficult to achieve. Still we know it is such a valuable way of collecting data to forward plan school curriculum and instruction. Cheers Nina

  3. nina davis

    Reblogged this on Nina's Arena-Teaching & Learning in the Australian primary classroom and commented:

    This post has had many reads recently.

  4. Dear Nina,

    I recommended your post here on Stars and Clouds and used the photo. Tell me if you want me to remove it!

    • averil2

      Hi Jessica,
      I’ve just visited Stars and Clouds and thank you for recommending my blog. I was thinking it was just this post. Once again I really appreciate and value your recommendation.
      Cheers Nina

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