STAR Learning Walks
The STAR Framework describes the observable content of Powerful Teaching and Learning. The STAR Protocol and STAR Process describe the method for identifying and applying that content. The whole process includes Seeing classroom teaching and learning, Talking about observations with colleagues, Applying learning to the classroom, and Reflecting personally on professional practice. We see teaching and learning by conducting STAR Learning Walks.
The purpose is for educators to learn the language of the STAR Protocol and to reflect on their own practices. STAR Learning Walks are not like typical walk-throughs in which administrators judge the strategies they see and then offer feedback. Our research interviewing teachers and studying programs suggests that, in most cases, teachers perceive typical walk-throughs as evaluative, intrusive, and intimidating. Teachers indicate that they eventually comply with dictated strategies, but develop resistance and resentment over time. Having learned from this, we developed a program philosophy and approach that moves educators beyond obligatory compliance to voluntary commitment.
Typically, only administrators conduct classroom observations, and their purpose is to judge whether the teacher is doing a “good” job. However, we believe it is important for everyone to be in classrooms, on a regular basis, to see instruction take place and learn to reflect on their own classroom practices, without providing feedback to the person being observed. Administrators demonstrate their support by allocating time and resources for teachers to do this and by modeling the process themselves in STAR Learning Walks for Reflection and STAR Learning Walks for Data Collection, which are described in more detail in the Powerful Teaching and Learning Leadership Guide®.
The goals of a STAR Learning Walk are (1) to learn what Powerful Teaching and Learning looks like, (2) to become proficient in the language of the STAR Protocol and STAR Process, and (3) to personally commit to professional change. It is never the purpose to critically evaluate others. The humble leadership demonstrated by teachers who are willing to open up their classrooms for observation and by teachers who are willing to discuss their observations in a respectful and reflective way creates a safe, supportive environment that facilitates change in instructional practice.
STAR Learning Walks come in many forms, including walking from classroom to classroom and watching video simulations to see teaching and learning in action. The transition from video to live observations requires an understanding of the culture in your school. Instructional practice is a very personal and sensitive issue, so we encourage participants to observe teaching and learning through video and in classrooms outside their own district or school initially, with the eventual goal of bringing the process home to an appreciative and trusting community within their own building.
Powerful Teaching & Learning
STAR Learning Walks
STAR Lesson Plans