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 Instructional Rounds: Taking a Page Out of Medical Practice

​Medical Rounds are an accepted practice in medical care, and representatives from 14 school districts recently learned about their educational equivalent, “Instructional Rounds,” which are the topic of a new book published by Harvard Education Press.

Instructional Rounds are intended to describe and identify effective teaching and learning. These classroom observations focus on providing evidence about a site-identified “problem of practice” that is identified by the school in advance of the Rounds.

Lee Teitel, faculty senior associate of the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University and co-author of the new book, spent two days in San Diego recently, introducing local educators to the concept.

The first day was spent ensuring all participants understood how to collect evidence versus making judgment about instruction.

The second day was spent at Correia Middle School in San Diego Unified School District, where participants conducted Rounds. Teams of four-to-five visitors spent 20 minutes in four different classrooms and a total of 20 classroom, followed by an extensive debriefing and discussion. The teams were given three questions to consider while in the classrooms, and to note specifically what they saw and heard that connected to the questions.

“Rounds are a way to get feedback and improve coherence,” Teitel said, explaining that “coherence” referred to the connection between district and site instructional initiatives and what’s observed in classrooms. “Those things will boost achievement inherently. Rounds are not about fixing an individual teacher. They’re about looking for patterns in classrooms and identifying how we can do better.”

A team from the County Office of Education’s Learning Resources and Educational Technology Division was joined by representatives from Grossmont Union High School District; Cajon Valley, South Bay and Encinitas Union School Districts; Poway, San Marcos and Carlsbad Unified School Districts; both Escondido districts; and the Del Mar, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe districts.

Teitel stressed the importance of having teachers on the team that conducts Rounds. “Without teachers, it would be like conducting medical rounds without doctors,” Teitel explained. “This is not adversarial, it’s not something done to teachers. It’s something done with teachers.”

For more information on Instructional Rounds, click here.