Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Leading Instructional Rounds And Reaping Their Benefits

By Diane Burns

Education experts consider instructional rounds as one of the best tools to enhance the sharing of pedagogy skills and enhance collaboration among teachers in an institution or district. When leading instructional rounds, you focus should remain on learning instead of criticizing. In fact, you learn later that no feedback is given to the teacher under observation. Make observation and later compare the skills and methodologies used.

The benefits of participating in the exercise will be seen when the group holds a plenary session. Each participant learns something from the teacher who was under observation. There are elements that will escape your attention even when you are present. The discussion will highlight these elements and in the process bring them to the fore. Each teacher also benefits when he or she reflects on the issues observed and discussed while alone.

Education experts advise that each teacher participates in one round at least once a semester. The leader of the team should be a colleague who is highly respected and has a history of producing exemplary work. You can use the instructional coach who is seasoned in the industry. Administrators can also take the lead but the purpose must remain to learn other than criticize the teacher under observation.

It is important that the teacher being observed be a volunteer. You may also consider a rotating routine so that everyone is observed at a particular point. The environment should be as natural as possible to avoid misleading observations being made. Choose the best in the school or district so that other people can take lessons from them. Any class can be a venue for observation.

The team making the rounds should remain as small as possible. Preferably, they should be between four and a maximum of six. Explain to your class that they will receive visitors. When students are learning in an environment with strangers, they will not respond naturally. However, when they are aware that learning is taking place, they will be supportive of the process.

The entry and presence of observing teachers is designed to cause the least possible disruption and distraction to instructions. It is preferred that the teachers occupy the back of the class. They observe and take notes of what is happening, especially use of instructional materials and methods of delivery. The team may also share areas of observation so that one takes communication and others consider the use of teaching aids, among other concerns.

The duration of the session should be 10-15 minutes. A lot of observations can be made over the period. The duration also allows the class to continue with planned work. Do not give the teacher a score using rubrics. Note down observable elements and use these observations to make notes. At the end of your session, remember to thank the students and teacher as you exit.

Observations made are not shared with anyone else outside the group. The comments made during debriefing should not be shared with anyone who was not part of the team. The observed teacher is not supposed to receive any feedback unless he or she is interested. Use the Pulses and Delta method to so that positives are recognized and concerns raised about areas where improvements can be made.

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