Recently, as I have traveled to several school districts in the United States, I have been invited into some conversations about the concept of “instructional rounds”. As I have listened, I have learned about the application of using the concept of “rounds” in the educational setting, which is quite similar to what is used to develop new interns and residents in the medical profession.
Since I work with leaders at all levels in school systems, I began to wonder how a school district would implement the instructional rounds model, so I did some investigating. I came across a new book by City, Elmore, Fiarman, and Teitel (2009) that is dedicated solely to this concept. The book, titled Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning provides a thorough view of the concept, and the authors make some recommendations that potentially could transform some systems.
Essentially, the premise of instructional rounds assumes that educators usually do not have a common set of shared practices that are effective – meaning that educators ranging from teachers to superintendents do not have a core set of shared practices. This distinguishes education from other professions. Instructional rounds are a process for bringing effective shared practices to the forefront of a school system:
“The basic idea is to put all educators – principals and central office administrators as well as teachers – into common practice disciplined by protocols and routines and organized around the core functions of schooling in order to create common language, ways of seeing, and a shared practice of improvement (City, Elmore, Fiarman, and Teitel 2009).”
The authors of Instructional Rounds in Education (2009) have tested this concept in several school systems in the United States and have found it to be successful.
My questions to the educational leadership blogosphere are:
- Does the concept of “instructional rounds” have the potential to be implemented into your school system? What would it take to do so?
- Do you think this idea will bring about successful practices if implemented?
- What systemic changes would cause the “rounds” concept to succeed?
- What systemic barriers would cause the “rounds” concept to fail?