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 an ‘inner-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)
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?
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.