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Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs

by Donald S. Kachur, Judith A. Stout and Claudia L. Edwards

Table of Contents

An ASCD Study Guide for Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs

This ASCD Study Guide is designed to enhance your understanding and application of the information contained in Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs, an ASCD book written by Donald S. Kachur, Judith A. Stout, and Claudia L. Edwards and published in July 2013.

You can use the study guide before or after you have read the book, or as you finish each chapter. The study questions provided are not meant to cover all aspects of the book, but, rather, to address specific ideas that might warrant further reflection.

Most of the questions contained in this study guide are ones you can think about on your own, but you might consider pairing with a colleague or forming a study group with others who have read (or are reading) Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs.


  1. If you are a teacher or principal, what were your initial thoughts about teachers participating in classroom walkthroughs prior to reading this book?
  2. How receptive do you think people at your school will be to the idea of teachers as walkthrough observers? What might be their concerns? What might interest them?

Chapter 1. Defining Teacher Leadership in Classroom Walkthroughs

  1. At your school, what opportunities do teachers have to share their expertise and learn from one another?
  2. Compare your perception of classroom walkthroughs to the authors' description. How do they measure up?
  3. What is the current state of affairs for walkthroughs in your school or district? Are walkthroughs a common practice? Are they accepted by the teachers' union, embraced by the school board, or endorsed by the superintendent? What are the common arguments for and against their use?
  4. Distinguish between walkthroughs conducted by administrators and those with teachers as participants. How can walkthroughs involving teachers raise the instructional capacity of a school to a higher level of improvement and performance?
  5. According to the authors: "We are firmly convinced that, in terms of the positions of the people doing classroom observations, the further those people are from the classroom … the less instructional practice will change" (p. 2). Do you agree with this observation? Why or why not?
  6. What has been your experience with peer observations? How comfortable are teachers teaching in the presence of their peers? Why do you think peer observations will be positive and/or negative experiences?
  7. What challenges do you anticipate with the introduction of teachers as observers in classroom walkthroughs? What reasons would you provide as to why teachers should be involved in walkthroughs?
  8. Make arrangements with several trusted colleagues to observe one another's classes several times. Share your experiences.
  9. How might you use the Teacher Survey on Classroom Walkthroughs (Appendix C) as a means to acquire input in the design of a walkthrough process for your school?

Chapter 2. A School Culture to Support Walkthroughs

  1. How does the way that culture is depicted in this chapter compare to your school's culture? What changes in your current school culture would be necessary to ensure that walkthroughs are accepted as valued and useful experiences?
  2. School leadership is necessary to support classroom walkthroughs. How can the principal support the implementation of walkthroughs?
  3. How can those teachers who buy in to the value of walkthroughs advocate for the process among reluctant staff?
  4. What does it take to ensure and maintain a climate of trust and respect in your school? How does this relate to teachers as participants in classroom walkthroughs?
  5. What practices might you find in a school that is very student-centered? Assess your own school by indicating that those practices are (a) routinely observable; (b) developing; or © not practiced.
  6. How do you describe a learning community? Which aspects of learning communities are the most difficult to achieve? How does your school rate?
  7. How can observation data from walkthroughs be used to complement and corroborate other student performance data? Conversely, what other student performance data can be gathered and analyzed to complement insights from walkthroughs?
  8. Discuss the characteristics of collaborative teacher inquiry. How can walkthroughs encourage teachers to integrate new knowledge and understanding of student learning and classroom instruction into their existing professional practice?
  9. How has this chapter contributed ideas about how to address your school culture and support the inclusion of walkthroughs as part of regular professional development?

Chapter 3. Components of Successful Walkthroughs

  1. What are your thoughts on developing your own model of classroom walkthroughs versus identifying a model that already exists?
  2. Assign members of your study group a specific walkthrough model from Figure 3.2 (pp. 36–40) to investigate further. Have members report on the protocols, noting which elements might be a good fit for your school. Decide if you will develop your own walkthrough process or use an established model.
  3. The Common Core State Standards may be an excellent area of focus for walkthroughs. What specific areas of focus would be most appropriate right now for your teachers to observe and share practices?
  4. What are your reactions to the sample Common Core Walkthrough Observation Forms found in Appendix G (pp. 140–145)? What do you like? What do you not like? What would you change?
  5. Do an Internet search and review classroom walkthrough observation software and apps to learn more about the value of using technology to ease the process of collecting, storing, and presenting observation data. Based on this research, what recommendations would you make regarding the use of such technology?
  6. How might purposeful and productive reflective conversations among teachers be structured to effect change in teaching practices?
  7. Review Figures 3.9, 3.10, and 3.11 (pp. 61–62). What are your thoughts about the creation of some type of written action plan in which teachers make commitments to taking action from walkthrough observation data and subsequent conversations?

Chapter 4. Strategies for Getting Teachers Involved

  1. If you were asked to put together a team of teachers to develop and implement teacher walkthroughs, whom might you include on this team and why?
  2. Schools that have successfully implemented walkthroughs advise that the process should be planned carefully and implemented as a deliberately patient, gradual process. What would the stages of such a patient, gradual process look like in your school?
  3. Engage in a brainstorming activity on important norms to be followed by teachers during actual walkthrough observations and follow-up reflective discussions.
  4. What kind of preparation or training would teachers need to engage in prior to conducting walkthroughs?
  5. How might your school schedule time for teachers to conduct classroom observations and have subsequent reflective conversations?
  6. What processes would allow walkthrough observers to share their experiences with other staff members?
  7. Give examples of the kinds of questions teachers might ask students during walkthroughs to measure their understanding of learning.
  8. Look at the strategies suggested for initiating walkthroughs. Is there one strategy that you feel is most important when implementing walkthroughs in your school?
  9. Imagine you are trying to launch a classroom walkthrough process and must obtain buy-in from fellow educators throughout the school. Examine the suggestions in this chapter, and outline a presentation in which you introduce and explain the concept and benefits of classroom walkthroughs.

Chapter 5. Additional Issues to Address

  1. Pockets of resistance frequently accompany change efforts such as walkthroughs. How might such resistance be addressed? What kind of leadership from the staff will be necessary to reduce teachers' reluctance to walkthroughs?
  2. What are some thoughts on how to reduce teachers' union issues?
  3. What coordination and tracking issues will need to be addressed during the implementation of walkthroughs?
  4. It is important that walkthroughs do not operate as a standalone effort. They should be aligned with other school improvement initiatives. What initiatives does your school already have in place that walkthroughs can complement to improve student achievement?
  5. What characteristics of professional learning communities make them ideal settings for the implementation of walkthroughs?
  6. Review the sample evaluation survey in Appendix I (pp. 159–160). The authors recommend that the purpose, process, and expected outcomes of walkthroughs are regularly evaluated. Look at the sample evaluation survey and determine how you would get evaluative feedback from staff?
  7. What factors would indicate that walkthroughs have a positive impact on teacher performance and student learning?
  8. Aside from the issues already addressed in this chapter, are there other issues that your staff may raise in the planning, introduction, and implementation of walkthroughs?
  9. What role does the district office play in creating the systematic support mechanisms that encourage and facilitate the walkthrough process?

Chapter 6. Concluding Thoughts

  1. The opening quote for this chapter comes from Roland Barth. What are your thoughts regarding this statement?
  2. Has reading Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs altered or reinforced your view of walkthroughs?
  3. Considering the overall content of this book, who else in your school or district needs to know more about walkthroughs? How might you introduce them to the concept?
  4. What will you do if the effort to implement walkthroughs does not have complete buy-in from everyone?
  5. What other questions or reflections do you have about the material in this book that haven't been addressed in this study guide? How will you obtain answers to these questions?
  6. Discuss your views regarding the authors' position that walkthroughs serve as one of the most powerful on-the-job learning activities for preparing teachers to implement the Common Core State Standards.
  7. As a culminating activity for yourself or your study group, compose a list of next steps for introducing the concept of walkthroughs. How might you share this information with your colleagues?

Engaging Teachers in Classroom Walkthroughs was written by Donald S. Kachur, Judith A. Stout, and Claudia L. Edwards. This 170-page, 7" x 9" book (Stock #113024; ISBN-13: 978-1-4166-1549-1) is available from ASCD for $21.95 (ASCD member) or $28.95 (nonmember). Copyright © 2013 by ASCD. To order a copy, call ASCD at 1-800-933-2723 (in Virginia 1-703-578-9600) and press 2 for the Service Center. Or buy the book from ASCD's Online Store.


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