PROCESS & PLANNING
Just like with the Rules of Engagement, these process and planning best practices have been developed through years of observations at thousands of schools following them will make for a much smoother STAR Learning Walk visits.
Prior to Observation (at least one week prior)
Day of Observation (in the morning)
Day of Observation (in the afternoon)
Participants should be committed to and competent in the reflective process. Live observations are sensitive, and participants must closely follow the STAR Process on the STAR Protocol’s inside back cover to ensure debriefs are appreciative and constructive.
Participants must arrange live observations well ahead of time. We have included a sample letter to a host school for your reference. We encourage you to go off campus and off subject area or grade level as often as possible. After lunch, participants will need to transfer all learning and commitments into their Personal Reflection Guides or Action Research Journals. Protocols will be collected and shredded at the end of the day. Before leaving the host school, thank you cards and blank copies of the STAR Protocol are given to host teachers in appreciation and explanation.
This template serves as a guideline for respectfully requesting and organizing STAR Learning Walks in host schools. Details may be adapted to the specific needs of both your group and the host school. Be sure that times and locations for arrival, orientation, observations, debriefs, and lunch best suit the host school.
We encourage people to learn to conduct live observations off-campus, which allow people to become comfortable with live observations, but avoid too much familiarity with the person being observed. We have found that the reflective process is actually inhibited when groups begin by observing their own colleagues. The process of conducting live observations starts off campus with the goal that, as skills are developed and trust grows, live observations may be brought back to your own building, grade, or PLC.
We encourage people to observe off subject matter as often as possible while learning to conduct live observations. This helps observers stay focused on the pedagogy applied to teaching and learning, as opposed to getting involved with the subject matter or critically evaluating whether the teacher is doing a “good” job teaching content. As observers begin to internalize Indicators of Powerful Teaching and Learning and to focus and reflect more expertly on instruction, live observations on subject may become appropriate.
Transfer to Journals
We ask participants to transfer their learning and commitments to Personal Reflection Guides or Action Research Journals for two reasons. For purposes of ongoing reflection and planning, this practice keeps learning in a personal and accessible place. More importantly, it is respectful to host teachers who have volunteered their classrooms as studios where others can come to develop their art, both by preserving confidentiality and anonymity, and by preventing lessons from being misused for critical evaluation. All Protocols will be shredded at the end of the day to protect host teachers.
Before the day that live observations occur, the coordinator will select a thank you card for each host teacher to be signed by all members of the observing group. These cards, along with a copy of the STAR Protocol for Classroom Observation® are given to each host teacher in appreciation and clarification of the role that these gracious teachers play in your group’s professional development. These items can be left with the building secretary as the visiting group prepares to leave the host building.
Rules of Engagement
Process & Planning