eWalkThrough Fuel

The latest on eWT from Dr. Gillespie

From the CEO...

Welcome! to the second quarterly edition of the eWT Fuel. If student achievement is the destination, education is the engine, eWalkthrough is the fuel.

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.

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eWT Fuel - Volume 1 Number 2

eWalkThrough Data Supports Instructional Conversations
Research indicates that the single most powerful factor influencing student learning is quality of teaching. Yet, teaching "...is perhaps the most complex, most challenging, and most demanding,...activity our species has ever invented!" (Lee Shulman, 2004). Therefore, collaboration and partnering to support teachers and professional learning is imperative.

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 as Fuel for Conversation & Coaching

A research study conducted by the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning evaluated a group of 87 teachers from a variety of schools. Results of the study indicate that 85% of teachers who receive ongoing support from instructional coaches implement newly learned instructional methods, a factor that enhances overall teacher quality. In another study conducted by the same group, resulted indicated that teachers who DO NOT receive such support implement newly learned strategies at a rate of only 10% (Joyce and Showers, 2002).

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.

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Immediate Implementation Strategies

To initiate and encourage the process of instructional conversations using eWT data, consider the following 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.

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Southwest Plains Regional Service Center is your professional learning team. "Professional learning...Innovative Solutions" is our #1 job. Call on us to discuss your specific professional learning needs. We will assist by designing a customized solution for your district or institution. And remember, your eWalkThrough data fuels the education engine, so your system can reach its intended destination--ever increasing levels of student learning!
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