“Isolation is the enemy of improvement” (Wagner, 2010, p 157).
In order to improve 21st Century Learning, schools must implement Learning Walks. Learning walks allow teachers and administrators to get a snap shot of learning that is taking place in their schools. We LOVE the idea of learning walks because it opens the door for teachers to collaborate and reflect on their teaching.
In Tony Wagner’s book The Global Achievement Gap, he describes how learning walks changed the way teachers viewed “rigor” in the classrooms. In 2003, Wagner was asked to help “reinvent” several high schools in South Kona, Hawaii. After implementing “learning walks” with the administration and staff, teaching practices were transformed. Faye Ogilvie, an elementary school principal, summarized her expereince:
“My thinking has definitely changed since we’ve started working together and it continues to evolve…When we started these conversations, I realized that just because teachers were using research-based strategies and providing a quality learning environment, they weren’t necessarily engaging students in using their minds well. By engaging teachers in conversations about rigor, we prompted them to reflect on their own practices and to make gradual changes to instruction that focused on student thinking rather than right answer responses” (Wagner, 2010, p. 162).
Here is a video of teachers reflecting on their learning walks:
Wagner, T. (2010). The global achievement gap. New York, NY: Basic Books.