How to Set Up Learning Walks in your Building

Are you wondering how to set up learning walks in your building? It is actually easier than you might think!

The term “learning walk” refers to the act of walking through various classrooms within the same school building to learn about instructional best practices used by your peer.  It allows for colleagues to share what is working, see techniques live in action, and build relationships with staff and students. Overall, it is a very inspiring and motivating experience.

Before diving into how to set up learning walks in your building, check out these two previous blog posts I wrote to get clear on how to better your instructional practice through this learning opportunity:

Design the Learning Walk Experience

Before you can roll out the learning walks concept to your staff, you need to envision what you want it to look like. That means you need to think through who participates, for how long, and what they are looking for.

As you wrap your head around those logistics, it is helpful to get ahold of teachers’ schedules so that you can match up observer to observee or set up a calendar in a common workspace for teachers to sign up to host or participate in the learning walk.

Once you have nailed what it will look like in your school building, you need to explain it to staff in detail.

Roll out the Learning Walk Experience

Start by explaining what a learning walk is and it’s many benefits. Once teachers understand how the professional development opportunity works, it is time to practice it. This gives teachers a chance to run through hosting and visiting each other’s classrooms without disruption and with a clear focus (ie. entering the classroom in the least invasive way, honing in on one specific aspect of instruction, collecting evidence of learning, reflecting or debriefing with colleagues).

Once you have rolled out the learning walk procedures to teachers, it is time to get the learning underway.

Execute the Learning Walk Experience

It is important to get the excitement brewing prior to the launch of the learning walk experience. You can decorate the school building or send encouraging emails to staff to energize teachers.

Be sure to be available while teachers are on the learning walk so you can provide clarity or direction so that it runs smoothly and remains a positive experience for all.

Afterwards, celebrate the learning that occurred. Be sure to thank staff for participating and encourage them to share their takeaways with one another.

Now that you understand what a learning walk is and how to successfully implement one, you might be in need of forms to provide teachers with structure on their learning walk. Snag the Learning Walks- A Peer Observation Tool for logistical tips, a list of look for’s, note taking guide, reflection sheet and thank you letters for teachers opening their classrooms for the experience.

If you would like to talk through logistics for how to set up learning walks with your specific situation in mind, grab a spot on my calendar for a personalized call with me.

About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.