Tech Innovation and Digital Learning

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph – Follow on Twitter @matthewxjoseph


This page will have a “Blog” feel because I want to share leadership ideas and keep a running dialog of ideas, recommendations, and my opinions on leadership.

Administrator Methods for Supervising Educator Practices

At Boston College, I was interested to study how school administrators seek to build their repertoire of skills for evaluating instructional practice, what research-based methods should they seek to develop?  As a principal I know that the role of a principal has become dramatically more complex and overloaded during the past decade. Today educational leaders must assist in teaching and learning situations and educational needs of a school and its educators.

I studied multiple methods of observations:

  • Formal Observation
  • Informal
    • Classroom Walkthroughs
    • School Management by Wandering Around
  • Collaborative Observation
    • Learning Walks
    • Instructional Rounds

A very brief summary of research below.  Click here to view the full study.

Formal Lesson Observation

  • Once or twice a year
  • Pre-observation Conference
  • Classroom Observation
  • Post Lesson Meeting

Classroom Walkthroughs

  • A classroom walkthrough is a brief classroom visit that occurs frequently and administrators can observe first hand the teaching and learning that is occurring in the classroom. (Downey, Steffy, English, Frase, & Poston, 2004)

Learning Walks

A learning walk is conducted by a group of the current school based educators working with the building administrator .  (Feeney, 2014)

Instructional Rounds

The Instructional Rounds method of observation is similar to a learning walk however, the focus of Instructional Rounds is firmly on the instructional core and the relationship between the teacher, the student, and the content. (City, Elmore, Teitel, & Fiarman , 2009)

Tips for the first year superintendent

As an aspiring superintendent and after completing my first year at Boston College , this discussion in class struck a chord.  There are going to be many challenges in year one (and every year after) and having this dialog with a retired superintendent and 25 peers helped me to focus on the “big” levers and the “nice to know” categories.

  • Develop and implement an entry plan. (“Hit the ground learning not running)
  • Communicate the reasons for your decisions whenever possible.
  • Make all decisions in the best interest of your students.
  • Supervise all personnel in a fair, firm and consistent manner. Be visible.
  • Respond and follow-up quickly. Implement changes slowly. Lead by example.
  • Practice good time management. Choose your battles wisely.
  • Discuss issues rather than personalities. Respect confidentiality.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Keep the school committee informed about potentially
  • Do not infringe upon school committee prerogatives.

Dr. Matthew X. Joseph

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