“Should principals stop visiting classrooms?” was the article I was waiting for!
I have long advocated that clear, meaningful feedback is not only important for teachers to give to students but also for principals to give to teachers. Yet, there really hasn’t been a lot of research that directly supports this stance and I hear from other administrators that classroom observations just aren’t worth the time and effort and really make no noticeable impact. Now! Research to support the idea that feedback for teachers has an impact on student learning!
Students made positive gains on standardized tests relative to the amount of time principals spent coaching teachers (especially in math) and relative to the time that principals spent evaluating teachers and curriculum. Instructional leadership, defined!
This is not to say that any or all classroom observations/walk-throughs have a meaningful impact – only the ones that are accompanied by meaningful feedback. Often, if the school culture has not embraced reflection, collaboration and feedback – walk-throughs and observations are seen as intrusive and have a negative impact.
So! Fellow ‘instructional leaders’, get on board! Build that collaborative, learning centered culture and encourage meaningful feedback (I also think receiving it, as a leader, is essential for improvement).
Also, for anyone in education – I highly recommend signing up for ASCD’s Smart Brief. It really has ‘pearls of wisdom’ in many of the editions.