Instructional rounds are a disciplined way for educators to work together to improve practice. This combines three common elements of improvement: observations, an improvement strategy, and a network of educators. Many educators currently use one of more of these elements, often with some success. It’s the combination of elements that’s most powerful. It’s hard to dislodge familiar habits and behaviors that serve different purposes, the most ingrained of which are supervision and evaluation.
Instructional rounds contrast with supervision and evaluation on a number of dimensions, the first of which is learning. Rounds are an inquiry process. People doing round should expect to learn something themselves. In supervision and evaluation, only the person being observed is expected to learn. Participants in rounds emphasize the learning they do as observers. Rounds are NOT about “fixing” individual teachers. Rounds are about understanding what’s happening in schools, how we as a system produce those effects, and how we can move closer to producing the learning we want to see.
Rounds are fundamentally descriptive and analysis, not evaluative. At no point in rounds do we declare what we see to be “good” or “bad” or something we “like” or “don’t like.” Observers don’t tell the observed what to do next to improve. However, observers do think about the “next level of work” or what the school could do to make progress toward solving their problem of practice.
About Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock, a nonprofit Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the American Honda Motor Company, is both a school for high school age students and a professional development center for educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages 15-17 from around the United States in an innovative learning program with national recognition.
The Professional Development Center works with educators from around the country who are interested in engaging in education renewal and reform. The Professional Development Center works with educators committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth.
We envision this country’s high schools as high functioning centers of engagement and learning. We accelerate school improvement and support implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.