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The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through

The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through
Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time

First Edition
Edited by:

May 2004 | 224 pages | Corwin

Change the entire school culture with this collaborative method of supervision!

For years, the classic supervision model has frustrated both principals and teachers by fostering superior-subordinate relationships, focusing on teacher conformity rather than growth, or producing checklist data that is irrelevant to the curriculum. The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through offers a practical, time-saving alternative that impacts student achievement by cultivating self-reliant teachers who are continuously improving their practice.

Easy to understand and adopt, this method will answer the questions most important to principals:

  • Is the work of my teachers aligned with the district curriculum?
  • Are my teachers using research-based "best practices"?
  • Are they choosing the instructional strategies that will promote student achievement?

Also known as the Downey Walk-through, the method presented in The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through has been developed over a 40-year period, tested and refined in actual teaching environments, and taught internationally.

Also see:
The Three-Minute Classroom Walk-Through (Multimedia Kit)

About the Authors
1. Understanding the Rationale Underlying the Walk-Through and Reflective Practice Approach
What is the Downey Walk-Through?

Why Walk-Throughs?

The Evolution of the Downey Walk-Through Process

2. Conducting the Walk-Through Observation: A Five-Step Process
The Five-Step Observation Structure

Step 1: Student Orientation to Work

Step 2: Curricular Decision Points

Step 3: Instructional Decision Points

Step 4: "Walk the Walls" - Curricular and Instructional Decisions

Step 5: Safety and Health Issues

3. Moving Staff to Reflective Inquiry: Focusing on the Reflective Question and Conversation
How Do We Provide Direct Feedback?

The Note

A Better Approach-Discussion

Direct Feedback Statement and Conversation

How Do We Provide Indirect Opportunities for Reflective Inquiry?

How Do We Ask Reflective Questions and Carry On the Conversation?

How Do We Ask Reflective Questions and Carry On the Conversation?

The Reflective Conversation

4. Constructing a Taxonomy of Reflective Questions and Their Use in the Classroom Walk-

The Novice/Apprentice

The Professional Teacher

The Expert Teacher

Limitations of the Taxonomy

5. Establishing Logistical Procedures for Implementing the Walk-Through Process
Finding the Time

Preparing Staff, Students, and Parents

Record Keeping

Board Policy to Support Walk-Throughs

6. Cultivating the Culture: Effectuating Change that Works
Lessons Learned About Change in Educational Cultures

Challenges and Barriers to Change

Deciding When to Intervene: The Marginal Teacher

Examples of Successful Implementation: Making the Walk-Through Process Work

Salinas Union High School District, California

Norman Public Schools, Norman, Oklahoma

Durham and Simco County School Boards, Ontario, Canada

Napa Valley Schools, Napa Valley, California

Shawnee Mission School District, Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Columbia-Brazoria Independent School District, Texas

San Leandro Unified School District, California

San Benito County, California, County Office of Education

Cultivating the Culture: A Final Word

7. Using the Walk-Through Process to Promote a Collaborative, Reflective Culture
Early History

Developmental Supervision and Mentoring

The Teacher as an Adult Learner

Promoting Development

8. Determining Whether Walk-Throughs Are the Right Stuff
Background and History of Management by Wandering Around

Why Are Both a Research and a Theory Base Needed Before Adopting An Innovation?

The MBWA Research Results

The Walk-Through with Reflective Question Research

9. Understanding the Walk-Through as a Discursive Practice
Examining the Dimensions of the Walk-Through

Changing the Discursive Practice of "Corrective" Supervision

Some Issues With the Model

A Pause to Consider Your Specific Situation

Troubleshooting Problems with the Downey Walk-Through

10. Linking the Walk-Through Process to a Model of Teacher Growth
Walk-Throughs and the Teacher Growth Model

The Model

Transformative Learning as it Relates to the Model

Organizational Learning and Transformation

Providing Feedback Conversation for Growth


"The book is easy to read and easy to understand. The information is practical and provides an excellent resource for administrators who are truly interested in improving instruction."

Edward Chevallier, Executive Director, Curriculum & Staff Development
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Carrollton, TX
Key features
  • Very strong authorship team
  • Emphasize time management, increased feedback for teachers, and a truly collaborative process
  • The book is a very practical approach to the process, proscriptive and applied to make the process easy to understand and adopt.
  • Workshops for the Downey model are currently being offered through Phi Delta Kappa, ACSA, and the Texas Association of School Administrators. The model has also been presented at NSDC.

For instructors

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