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 success 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 3
Strategy 1: Random, Frequent Observations
Observers must be encouraged to conduct walkthroughs randomly throughout any given month and week AND throughout any given day.
Outcome: Across the school year, eWalkThrough data needs to be collected during each week of a given month, during each day of the week, during each class period of the day, AND even at various times throughout a class period (beginning, middle, end). This process will produce the truest possible, most authentic, picture of the state of instruction. In other words, for any given teacher, not all observations should, for example, be on the first Friday of the month, during the first period. Instead, try to complete observations at a variety of points throughout the month, week, and day.
Strategy 2: Consistent observations
Outcome: The point is, observations conducted on a regular and consistent basis produce the most authentic picture of the state of instruction. Stopping, starting, not meeting targeted goals, and then spending an entire day conducting observations in order to "catch up" will NOT produce data that provides an integrated, holistic, description of instruction. Realistic goals, implemented on a consistent basis, generate valuable instructional data.
Strategy 3: Observer Calibration
Outcome: The ultimate goal is to generate clean eWalkThrough data. The observer team must regularly meet to conduct observations and then immediately collaborate to share and discuss the results. This means that as much as humanly possible, observers view data points through the same lens, with the same vision. In other words, the goal is to increase the likelihood that for any given data point (e.g., student engagement, clear learning target, effective questioning), each member of the observer team will mark that data point in the same way.
Observervation calibration techniques include:
- Observers can partner with another observer to conduct 3-4 walkthroughs once a month.
- An entire district or institution observer team might commit to 3 observations (in similar teams of 3-4 observers) prior to a college/university or district leadership meeting each month.
- Building or department level observer teams could schedule observations before leadership meetings.
- Cross-curricular, cross grade level, and between building/program/department calibration of observation is powerful. Administrators may consider a hybrid observation protocol to cross check data points and overall observations, and therefore enrich calibration.
- Some districts and institutions even contract with an external observer or observer team to acquire a third-party perspective. This strategy adds depth, and an additional rich calibration factor, to the process.
- Observation of instruction.
- Immediate sharing of results and deep, candid discussion of perspectives.
- Repeat observation in another classroom.
- Immediate sharing of these results with deep discussion. Repeat steps 1 and 2, as time allows.
- If steps 1 and 2 involve smaller subgroups of the observer team, whole team discussion and agreement that should commence soon thereafter to generate conclusions.
Calibration is on-going. The task of observer calibration is never complete. Observer calibration means generation of eWalkThrough data that is cleaner, truer, and more accurately descriptive of instruction. This is the type of eWalkThrough data that becomes the springboard for authentic instructional improvement. And THIS is the process that leads to student success!
Available now from SWPRSC! A resource to support your teachers, insure excellent instruction that engages students at increasingly higher cognitive levels, and assist with observer calibration during classroom observation. Click on green box above!