Parallel Session II: Teacher Rounds

An Alternative, Sustainable Approach to Professional Learning
23 Sep 2017

Parallel Session II: Teacher Rounds

Teachers have been monitored, evaluated, observed and judged throughout their careers. The fear and anxiety caused by formal observations has resulted in a climate of mistrust that provided little opportunity to collaborate with other practitioners to improve their practice. This constant monitoring has not lead to improved teaching and learning.

Teacher Rounds provides a clear structure and protocol for teachers to collaborate and to learn from each other in a safe and secure environment. Teacher Rounds (Del Prete 2013) is a form of peer observation and collaborative professional development that takes place in context, in the classroom. The concept is derived from the medical model used for training purposes in teaching hospitals. Rounds involve teachers observing each other using strict protocols and describing rather than interpreting what they see and hear. This is followed up by a professional conversation where they develop a language to talk about teaching and learning. The teacher being observed identifies a “problem of practice” which guides observers on what they need to look out for.

My research is a formative intervention that has involved me working alongside groups of teachers in three schools, in implementing Teacher Rounds. This has involved training teachers in the process and protocols around Teacher Rounds, taking part in the observations and facilitating the post Round discussions. Teacher Round observations involve teachers collecting evidence about what they see and hear without interpretation or evaluation. It is a supportive but challenging process that develops a language for talking about teaching.

My workshop will consider my research findings and the implication for leaders in schools and other educational establishments. If constant monitoring and checking and the professional learning opportunities on offer are not helping to improve the quality of teaching – why are we doing them? What are the alternatives? This workshops suggest a way forward through Teacher Rounds.