Beyond the Walkthrough

Classroom walkthroughs and formal observations are a standard in K-12 education.  An observation may be informal, such as a five minute walkthrough, or formal in which a teacher is observed for an entire class session. These observations provide a glimpse into a teacher’s instruction as well as the classroom environment.   For administrators, these interactions are critical to developing reflective dialogue and collaboration with teachers, in addition to, providing support in terms of guidance and professional development.

Informal walkthrough observations, in particular, can be especially valuable in supporting reflective inquiry with teachers if the observational data is collected in a manner that is nonjudgmental.  Unfortunately, many observation tools do not provide clear indicators of observable behaviors and a judgment based approach emerges.  This approach can be frustrating for teachers and cause them to fear observations instead of viewing them as an opportunity for growth as it should be.

ClassGather© is a platform that addresses this issue and encourages continual professional growth. With ClassGather administrators collect objective data on teaching practices and student behaviors.  Any observable behavior within a classroom can be tracked thereby providing data that supports reflective discussions with teachers.  This data can also help guide professional development that is meaningful and relevant to teacher needs.

Many teachers are accustomed to classroom walkthrough forms that are designed as checklists. These checklists often don’t take into account the living dynamics that are occurring in a classroom and are not truly objective.  ClassGather goes beyond checklists.  ClassGather is aligned to research based standards in order to obtain both objective and subjective data that is reliable and valid. ClassGather can be used as an administrator evaluation tool as well as a peer to peer collaboration asset.

Interested in learning more about how ClassGather can help make observations more meaningful and professional development specific and targeted for success? Visit our website for a free trial at

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Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC