‘Let’s take the vocabulary project to India!’ she said. ‘I’ll only go if you do!’ she said. ‘Just say the word,’ I replied.
And with that and very little research or further ado Cindy Valdez-Adams, my friend and mentor, and I booked ourselves into a ‘Pay it forward teaching tour’. We are putting full trust in our leader and facilitator, the #iroundsnsw @COSLead coach, mentor and retired principal Annette Udall, to look after us.
As part of my preparation, I needed to know what Instructional Rounds were so I went to a brief training session to learn the basics. This was after reading an extract from Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning. Authors Richard Elmore; Elizabeth A City; Sarah E Fiarman and Lee Teitel supplied by Annette.
All eleven teachers who are travelling with Annette, are working with a school in Delhi in India in the first week that we are there. The classes may vary in size from 20 students to 100 students and most of them are first generation learners. We will be working in pairs, as professional partners, with one teacher from the Delhi school.
The school asked that we work with them in two areas, English and Mathematics and so two problems of practice have been identified and will be the focus of learning.
The instructional rounds will allow us to have the dialogue with other professionals to improve teaching and learning practice. Identifying a problem, something that we can observe, leads to finding a solution with the aim of educating all students to high levels. It is never about the teacher. An instructional round is developmental, complicated and messy.
We begin the instructional rounds in the classrooms by making observations using our problems of practice as a focus. When we do so we suspend judgement and only note what we can see and hear as it needs to be quantifiable data. No adjectives or adverbs are used.
The next step is to develop a theory of action across the instructional core which involves looking at content, student and teacher. We will be doing this with the teacher that we are working with and then develop some lessons together which we will team teach the following day.
Each day we will be recording our observations, reflections and wonder statements. My aim is to do so here in this blog. If you are interested you are welcome to follow along.