Traditional Observation v Instructional Rounds – Chip Houston

Instructional Rounds

In our third year of practicing instructional rounds, I continue to learn and grow in my ability to deliver quality, meaningful feedback to our teachers. They are the best. The top. The elite professionals. I often tell them they are the “Michael Phelps” of education. And even Michael Phelps needs a coach to be the best in his field. I believe instructional rounds is one of the most effective methods to professional growth in education.

“A commitment to professional learning is important, not because teaching is of poor quality and must be ‘fixed,’ but rather because teaching is so hard that we can always improve it. No matter how good a lesson is, we can always make it better. Every professional teacher has a responsibility to be involved in a career-long quest to improve practice.” C. Danielson

What is the difference between the traditional observation that far too many educators experience across the nation and the practice of instructional rounds? 

Traditional Observation Instructional Rounds
1 admin observes 1 teacher at a time 3-5 admin/teachers observe 1 teacher at a time, 3-4 teachers in a row. All 6-9 debrief together for an hour in the same week.
observer leaves carbon copy of eval in teacher’s mailbox observee receives 3-5 typed evaluations in advance of a whole group, one hour debrief. **
observation happens once maybe twice throughout year observations happen at least 4 consecutive weeks for more frequent, in depth feedback
data is useful only for that teacher data is useful for teacher and helps school build a pedagogical map of teaching and learning practices

Instructional Rounds

Students conduct science experiments with measurement in centers during instructional rounds observation.

Instructional Rounds

The job of the observer is to capture what one sees and hears. Be as objective as possible, reflecting back like a blind spot mirror to the teacher being observed during instructional rounds.

Instructional Rounds

It is difficult to fly under the radar during instructional rounds when 3-5 observers walk in (and when our students are so friendly).


Mrs. Levison’s class is always thought-provoking and interactive. During this lesson, she is challenging students to come up with questions that test whether something (fire, a blade of grass, etc.) is alive. Does it grow? Does it breathe? Does it die? Is it alive? I love instructional rounds – I learn so much.

The official hashtag I use for instructional rounds is #irfedu. Please use it and share your experiences. What other differences can you see between traditional observation and instructional rounds?

Traditional Observation v Instructional Rounds – Chip HoustonChip Houston.

Source: Traditional Observation v Instructional Rounds – Chip HoustonChip Houston

One thought on “Traditional Observation v Instructional Rounds – Chip Houston”

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *