Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breaking Down the Boundaries of Classroom Walls for the Professionals

Breaking down, or stepping outside of the walls of classrooms
allows educators to improve their chosen craft of teaching by
watching other practitioners in action, reflecting, and implementing.
One of the unforeseen blessings of having an educational role such as ours, Instructional Technologies Coordinators, is the opportunity to regularly visit the classrooms of so many professional educators on a daily basis.  I regularly learn more about becoming a better educator during these visits than I could have ever learned through years of "trial and error" in my own classroom. It is one of my greatest regrets that I did not seek out more opportunities to observe the professional practice of my colleagues when I was a classroom teacher.

At Waukesha North, a healthy culture of collaboration has been embraced throughout the building.  As a key element of that, staff members are beginning to seize the opportunity to step outside of their own classrooms and to place their professional learning front and center, as they learn from their colleagues.  Calling them "learning walks" or "instructional rounds," the goal is consistently the same -- learning to improve the craft of teaching by observing, reflecting, asking questions, and implementing.

Principal Jody Landish recently published a thoughtful, sincere, inspiring post about the instructional rounds taking place at North.  Read her reflections related to the value of this level of collaboration and professional learning on her blog post - Instructional Rounds in Education -- Principal of the Purple Palace blog.