A classroom walk-through is an observation technique used to collect classroom teaching strategies, levels of interaction, student engagement, teacher behaviours and classroom resources. This technique is used for gaining insight into professional development to learn more about classrooms and teaching. A classroom walk-through is usually conducted by the school's principle or administrator and a checklist is used to identify specific activities.
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Classroom walk-throughs are used for teachers and principals better to understand how teaching is occurring and whether the methods used are effective. Teachers benefit from these observations by becoming more involved in communication with the principal. They also benefit from receiving positive feedback from the principal, and this procedure helps teachers examine what is working well in their classrooms. Principals also benefit from these observations by learning what strategies are being used within the classrooms and how effective they are. A classroom walk-through also opens the door to better communication between the principal and the teachers. The principal gains feedback from the teachers, which helps the principal make clearer, more effective decisions. A classroom walk-through checklist contains a list of different activities the principal will observe.
The first section of a standard classroom walk-through checklist relates to the methods and strategies the teacher uses for instructional teaching. The administrator monitors whether the textbook material has a high level of expertise and how the teacher conveys instructions and materials to students. The objectives of the lesson are evaluated to determine whether they are presented clearly to the students. Other instructional items on the checklist include the organisation and accessibility of reading materials, whether students are given ample opportunities to practice skills being taught and whether the material is being taught at an acceptable pace.
Student engagement is often another section included on this checklist. The administrator observes the way students engage each other and the teacher. Things that are looked for are questions regarding how many students are participating and whether or not the classroom is organised in terms of students speaking. This section also includes the observed strategies used for students working together. It looks for group reading, unison reading and choral reading.
The behaviour of the teacher is observed during a classroom walk-through. The strategies she uses when helping students understand information and the way she moves throughout the room are two items on the checklist. The teacher's routines and procedures are studied as well. Does she know material thoroughly and is she conveying it to students in a way they can comprehend? The classroom management procedures and routines the teacher uses are also observed.
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