Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Walking the Walls - Collaborative Team Learning

Our school has been working with Tony from Interlead for a little while now. As part of our professional learning practices we have been introduced to the notion of four-minute walkthroughs, which we have dubbed 4MWT (we love acronyms at our school). You can read more about 4MWTs here.

An integral part of 4MWTs is to "walk the walls". This means to do just that, have a look a the walls in a classroom or corridor to capture the learning that might be happening in that space. To look at the environment as the third teacher and take inspiration from this.

My team have started visiting other grade levels in our school to be inspired, be curious. be informed, be provoked. On occasion, we will arrange a Walkthrough and realize that it wasn't quite the right time - the class are in a single subject lesson or recess. In this case, we "walk the walls" in lots of classrooms. We have come away from every single one of these sessions with an idea, a curiosity or a wonder.

It soon became apparent, that while it was great to see other spaces we could really benefit from seeing our own classrooms walls (12 homerooms in our grade level). So, we organised an in-grade level "walk the walls" session. By this time our children had left for the day and we had the spaces totally to ourselves. We got together in groups (those we don't normally collaboratively plan with) and went walking.

When we reconvened as a whole group I invited teachers to reflect on a few questions and post their answers on stickies in response to these questions:

Questions I posed were:
  • What curiosities do you have? (You saw something in a classroom and you just need some clarification or the story behind it).
  • If you had 1,000,000SAR what would you change in your learning space?
  • If a space was a gender, what gender would it be? Were there gender neutral spaces?
  • If you were a 4 year old what would you want to see in your learning space?
  • What will you change tomorrow?
Unfortunately, we were a bit time-deficient to really get into deep dialogue about the answers, I hope to visit some of these answers in our next team meeting. What learning have you enjoyed from "walking the walls" in your learning space?

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