The latest on eWT from Dr. Gillespie
From the CEO...
The team at Southwest Plains Regional Service Center is committed to continually supporting teachers in the effort to deliver excellent instruction. As professional learning is designed and implemented to support this vision, it is absolutely essential that student learning remain the center of all our endeavors.
The powerful data generated by implementing the eWalkThrough provides immediate feedback for decision making. Ultimately, this data provides a consistent and reliable fuel for the education engine--for delivery of excellent instruction and ultimately, for increased student learning.
Because walkthrough observation has such potential as a catalyst to support both excellent instruction and a positive shift in learning (Walk-through as Powerful, n.d.), this process is quickly establishing itself as best practice (Hopkins, 2010; David, 2008). When real-time observation data are collected and analyzed, they become a powerful source of fuel to support self-reflection and collaborative conversation. The final results are clear (Protheroe, 2009). Program initiatives are actualized. Instructional strategies improve. Student achievement increases.
Expect the eWalkThrough Fuel quarterly from Dr. Kelly Gillespie, CEO of Southwest Plains Regional Service Center. Our professional learning team is dedicated to the design of innovative solutions which will deliver results for your staff and your students.
eWT Fuel - Volume 1 Number 2
Consider this profound statement. in her book, Talk about Teaching, Charlotte Danielson quotes, "Of all the approaches available to educators to promote teacher learning, the most powerful...is that of professional conversation...In these conversations, teachers must consider the instructional decisions they have made and examine student learning in light of those decisions." One of the most valuable applications of eWT data is its use to motivate, nurture, and support instructional conversations.
Observation vs. Evaluation
eWalkThrough data is the fuel for instructional conversations. During the eWalkThrough process, the emphasis of the observations must be on supporting, mentoring, and coaching. Observation must not be confused with evaluation. Evaluation is hierarchical, directive, and summative. Observation is collegial, collaborative, and formative.
The goal of eWalkthrough observation is that the instructor feels supported through data-based coaching, through conversation, and through self-reflection. Evaluation is an important process, but it is a separate process. Nevertheless, it is critical that evaluation be strategically partnered within the culture of classroom observation.
Teachers should NOT feel as if they are being inspected during the eWalkThrough process. The ultimate goal of walkthrough observation is for the instructor to reflect on practice; whereas, in evaluation the evaluator makes a judgement and provides prescriptive direction. The eWT process involves creating a climate in which teachers become intrinsically motivated and begin to "think about their thinking!" (metacognition).
eWalkThrough Data as Fuel for Conversation & Coaching
Coaching does indeed lead to successful adoption and effective use of proven, best practice, instructional methods, with one crucial caveat: The right conditions--in the form of administrative support and qualified coaches--must be in place. Schools in which either of these elements is missing, will experience lowered implementation rates.
Using eWalkThrough data to fuel instructional conversations in coaching relationships is good leadership. It is research-based best practice. Coupled with observers who have received professional learning focused on instructional coaching techniques, the eWalkThrough observation process will lead to improved instruction.
Immediate Implementation Strategies
- Share district eWalkThrough data summaries at district leadership meetings or professional learning events.
- Share building eWalkThrough data summaries at building level staff meetings.
- Utilize eWalkThrough content area/program data to fuel the work of PLCs.
- After completing 8-12 observations on a single educator, share a summary excerpt from the eWalkThrough data. Compliment and encourage. Ask a probing question. Perhaps even initiate a "stand-up" meeting at the convenience of the teacher, to have an instructional conversation.
Note: Remember that eWalkThrough data can be disaggregated utilizing a variety of variables to meet your customized professional learning needs. Groupings may include district, building, content area, PLC team, date(s), or individual teacher.