The Learning Walk
Lesson Objective: Collaboratively observe colleagues
2014 National Teacher of the Year Finalist

Thought starters

  1. What are the benefits of doing observations together?
  2. Why is it helpful to observe with a focus?
  3. How could you implement learning walks at your school?
I love the idea of learning walk and we practice this at our campus. We have been implementing this strategy for a few years now. Our learning walks have been limited to our own subject that we teach. I think we can learn more if the walks are open to all teacher for content area.
Recommended (2)
I was so excited to see the practice on this website that I am in the process of preparing to implement! Nasreen, great observation on the difference between your school and the featured video. It has made me reflect upon my plans of having teachers only observe in their content area to having teachers observe with a focus on great instructional practices regardless of content area.
Recommended (1)
After watching the short demonstration of the Learning Walk which I thought was a great idea, I couldn't help wonder who were watching their classes while they were gone, teacher aide(s)?
Recommended (1)
In our school, we will conduct the Learning Walks during the teachers' prep time.
Recommended (1)
Learning Walks are great and I would love to see them as part of a menu of activities from which teachers can choose to equip themselves to improve their practice. Like students, teachers learn differently and have different learning preferences, so they could choose between Learning Walks, PD workshops & conferences, Study Groups with colleagues from other grade levels and content areas who share the same interest in studying and experimenting with one particular facet of their practice with a group who they can get support and feedback from. The learning inputs could be differentiated while the outputs (what we are expected to then do to apply the learning to our work with students) could be similar/the same.
Recommended (1)


  • The Learning Walk Transcript

    Speaker 1: Room 11 first.

    Speaker 2: Room 11, okay.

    Speaker 1: I think that we're all products of

    The Learning Walk Transcript

    Speaker 1: Room 11 first.

    Speaker 2: Room 11, okay.

    Speaker 1: I think that we're all products of the professional around us.

    Speaker 3: I'm hoping that you guys are able to make a prediction.

    Speaker 1: I've learned a ton from hearing conversations about how we're approaching subjects.

    Speaker 4: Making sure that it's modeled and that the steps are clear.

    Speaker 1: How we deal with challenges from watching my fellow educators teach, from having an open culture, to having that happen here at the school. It's important to see it in action. The learn and walk is one of the professional development practices that we have here at the [Catskill?] High School. It's the idea of getting together with a few of your colleagues and visiting classrooms throughout the building. Sometimes it has a particular focus. We are looking at engagement for this particular learn and walk. We are focused on engagement, so we are looking for ways teachers have facilitated student engagement strategies specifically or just ways that they've chosen the content of the lesson to engage them, but also just whatever good practices stand out to us. We're going to talk about it later and talk about ways they were doing it and maybe think about ways that we could integrate that into our own classrooms and have that conversation. We get a few teachers together. They opt into taking this walk during their planning period. We choose a few rooms to go into. Sometimes it's pre-planned. We know we have a bio teacher who wants to go into a bio room.

    Speaker 2: We also have an acid.

    Speaker 1: We visit classrooms between 7 and 10 minutes a piece, and we take some notes while we are there.

    Speaker 5: If we had a scale of 1 to 5, who would maybe get what number? Four, yeah. Three or four would be pretty good.

    Speaker 1: When we're finished, we get together and we debrief. We talk about what we saw, and we each kind of bring a little different perspective to the table there.

    Speaker 6: So they're seeing it, and Mr. Spencer is showing the example through the modeling, and they're going to be able to do it.

    Speaker 1: While it might be a valuable thing to do independently, it's so much more valuable to do collaboratively and to see what each person draws out of that experience.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish] And when you shop, you're what?

    Class: You're buying.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish] Who said it? DeShawn?

    Speaker 8: Buying.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish]

    Class: [Speaking Spanish]

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish]

    Class: [Speaking Spanish]

    Speaker 1: All right, so what's it about in Josepha's room, the Spanish class?

    Speaker 8: Her enthusiasm I think it just unparalleled to anything I ever have seen.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish]

    Speaker 8: I think when you're teaching a world language class, you have to always be on point and animated because some of the kids won't understand what she's saying, but through her gestures.

    Speaker 1: Indeed, yeah.

    Speaker 9: She's pulling out the issues.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish] Who remembers? [Speaking Spanish]

    Speaker 8: She didn't ask for volunteers, but when she did call on the kids, they all were able to do what she asked of them.

    Speaker 7: [Speaking Spanish]

    Speaker 3: The first thing we want to do is get our temperature test tubes set up. The second thing we're going to do is look at the effects of pH. Mr. Spencer, do you want to take over and show them?

    Speaker 9: So, here's the deal. You want to try to get the liver in without touching the sides the best you can. For temperature, all you got to do is get the liver in and then get your peroxide squirts and record in your chart.

    Speaker 1: As a bio teacher, Andy, first year bio teacher, what do you see about what they did with their lab to make it more engaging for that population?

    Speaker 10: She and Spencer have adapted the lab to include a more visual component, where, like, these kids aren't just going to read the instructions, they're going to draw what they're going to be putting in each and every test tube because some people are more visual learners. it definitely helps a lot of them, so I think that was great.

    Speaker 11: Also, when we walked in, they had the display of what the worksheets were from the lab and so that's another added visual, and Ms. Clark was writing on the white board with the worksheet.

    Speaker 3: Show me thumbs-up if you're comfortable with what we're going to be doing in the lab. Everybody give me a quick visual. Thumbs up, thumbs up.

    Speaker 12: Do you think we can write a syllogism for that? Look back at your page on inductive versus deductive reasoning. So, remember, we need to have a major premise, a minor premise, and then a conclusion.

    Speaker 1: All right, so on to the English classroom with Ms. Dunn. High-level stuff going on there.

    Speaker 12: What does that tell us about his personality or his character?

    Speaker 1: When she asked that question about the syllogism and got nothing from the class, what would it have been like if she had just tried to power through that herself and kind of pull teeth to get an answer?

    Speaker 12: Why don't you guys take a second and talk to your partners about it for just a second?

    Speaker 1: Instead she stopped, talk to a partner, take some time together, and then the responses she got were amazing.

    Speaker 12: Anyone want to add anything? Kayla?

    Speaker 13: He listens before he speaks.

    Speaker 12: Yeah, he definitely does.

    Speaker 11: They were able to analyze the character and how he was feeling about different things.

    Speaker 1: And the variety of responses -- such a good choice to stop and say, "They need time. They need to talk to each other. They need to collaborate." What you find when you walk into another classroom is that you're picking up on things in all areas of practice. So, while you might go in with one focus, you come out with seven different ideas of things you can take into your own classroom. And it's also important to see how your fellow teachers operate with the same students you have, the same student population, the same technology, but what are they able to get students to do in different settings to think about how you can push them in your own classroom. I want you to talk with the people around you, shoulder partner. What's the tone like here at paragraph five?

School Details

Patapsco High & Center For Arts
8100 Wise Ave
Baltimore MD 21222
Population: 1434

Data Provided By:



Sean McComb
Michele Summers
Andy Yancura



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture