Dog-and-pony every day, please
(not just when someone visits)
Should students’ best learning experiences only be during formal observations?
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I wouldn’t get good learning practice and Dog and Pony show confused. The D&P is usually showing the administrators what they want to see (the new technology that they purchased being used, PD program that they spent big bucks on), where Good Learning would often be a horrible “evaluation” lesson. When my students are designing their own lab activities and collecting and analyzing data, I look like I’m doing “nothing” since all I’ll do is wander around seeing if anyone has any problems with the materials, and ask them a few questions about what they are doing. All of the students are engaged, and higher order thinking and learning is involved, but I’m sure I’d score horribly on one of the evaluation checklists. Put on a nice show of games with a new classroom clicker set or Smartboard and I’m sure they’d be thrilled to see their expensive toys being used, even if no learning is taking place at all.
Fair enough. If I were visiting your classroom, I’d want what you describe when you’re ‘doing nothing,’ Bill. But I know that many admins would struggle with that because of their own understandings around good practice and student empowerment.