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LEARNING WALKS How we can share good practice and learn from one another. Jo Lakey School Improvement Officer
‘…organised and highly structured collaborative enquiry ‘walks’ through the classrooms of a school by colleagues from that (and other) school(s) in order to identify evidence of progress and areas for development. They included short visits to classrooms by a team of people who work together to collect evidence, learn about what is happening and ask questions. They are intended to be constructive rather than judgemental and aim to help the school understand how teachers teach, how learners learn and what gets taught to whom and when.’ NCSL, November 2005 What is a learning walk?
Why have an MFL learning walk? A learning walk can have many different purposes: To review developing practice across key stage 2. Providing a ‘snapshot’ view. To share good practice and promote consistency e.g. everyone walks their own school. To raise awareness of new ideas e.g. visits from or to other schools. To check for progression e.g. a learning walk to focus on how language learning strategies are taught across key stage 2. To determine training needs e.g. display for learning To provide quality time for reflection and to stimulate professional discussion.
Six Stages 1. Choose a focus and formulate key questions 2. ‘Walkers’ to meet to discuss the focus 3. Visit classrooms, talk with pupils etc 4.Discuss findings and reflect on points raised 5. Verbal and written feedback 6. Evaluate and plan next steps, plus future monitoring
How do you organise an MFL learning walk? Decide on a learning focus and key questions - pre-set criteria or your own? - general observations or a checklist (see PMFL School Self Audit)? Is prior reading required? - good way to align new initiatives such as MFL and Every Child Matters - can raise awareness of provision for groups e.g. EAL or SEN Decide on a timetable –will MFL be the focus for lessons or will it be used during another lesson? – [ 5-15 mins in each class] Share the purpose –Discuss the focus and any criteria you might be using with the whole staff – including support staff.
How do you organise an MFL learning walk? Publish a timetable for your walk Don’t forget to allow time for feedback amongst the group and to the staff concerned - will you have an outside facilitator to chair the discussion? - will any form of written report be produced? - who will be responsible for feedback? - who will be responsible for any action points which arise?
Who goes on a learning walk? Staff [home and away] Pupils Parents Governors Other professionals
Learning Conversations ‘The kind of talking needed to educate ourselves …needs to be carefully planned and scaffolded’ Joseph P. McDonald Learning conversations should take place during a learning walk, it is important to talk about things which can move the adults’ and pupils’ learning forward.
What are ‘the rules’? There are certain protocols required for a learning walk: Always stand to the side or the edges – don’t distract from the teacher or block someone’s view. If the children are working independently or in groups agree whether you are going to mingle and ask questions or simply be a ‘fly on the wall’ observer. Don’t chat amongst yourselves whilst the teacher or pupils are addressing the class! Are photographs permitted if the purpose is to gather evidence?
What might be the outcomes? 1.Time for reflection I have learned ….. I would like to know more about …… 2.Verbal and written reports highlighting strengths, questions arising and possible areas for development, for example;- Identification of good practice and a plan on how to extend that across the school. A change of policy, practice or routines. Further information required to gain a more detailed picture. Staff training and development needs.
An example:- The MFL Learning Environment Our aim is to enhance children’s MFL learning through providing a stimulating learning environment. A rich learning environment can enhance learning by: – Stimulating children’s creativity, curiosity and thoughts. – Providing a bridge between the pupil and new learning. – Building self-esteem, self-worth and confidence. – Informing, motivating, influencing and exciting the children about language learning. – Providing children with a sense of ownership, belonging and responsibility. – Promoting positive feelings and attitudes towards school, the classroom and language learning.
Time for Reflection Would you use learning walks to monitor, evaluate and review the impact of language learning across your school? What other strategies might be used to identify the next steps in relation to the development of modern foreign language learning across a school?
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