Using Affirming Learning Walks to Build Capacity
Keywords:instructional leadership, STEM education, teacher leadership, adult learning, classroom observation techniques, teacher education, professional development
Teachers grow from sharing their practice and receiving feedback, yet it can be difficult for teachers to welcome others into their classrooms without feeling judged. Observers need to enter teachers’ classrooms projecting respect and value for the challenging work of teaching. In this article, we share an approach to visiting classrooms, called Affirming Learning Walks, that differs in comparison to more typical learning walks, instructional rounds, or classroom observations. Affirming learning walks are hosted by teachers or administrators, conducted with other teachers, designed around eight practices known to support student achievement, and focused only on those productive practices that are present rather than on the absence of practices or areas for improvement. This approach provides an opportunity to value many of a teacher’s practices that are productive and encourages teachers to engage in more of the productive practices because they are highlighted and celebrated.
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