Formal Recognition for Informal Learning

BDG0113 Look-Fors

DESCRIPTION: The instructional supervisor who earns the Look-Fors Micro-Credential knows and clearly communicates what to look for when observing a teacher.

EARNING THE MICRO-CREDENTIAL: To earn the Look-Fors Micro-Credential, instructional supervisors demonstrate that they and those they observe have a shared understanding of and language for effective instructional elements that are part of a framework of teaching. Earners write a short essay describing the framework they use to identify and communicate the elements of effective instruction. They also share documentation (meeting agenda, notes, in-service agenda, etc.) that provides evidence that the entire faculty has been trained in the same framework. Finally, earners will provide a video-recording of a pre- or post-conference meeting with a teacher in which discussion of one or more elements in the framework are discussed by both the observed and observer.

RESEARCH BASE: The concept of instructional coaching has been shown to have an effect size of 0.58 (medium to large) on teachers’ instructional practices, which in turn improves student achievement by 0.15 (Kraft, Blazar, & Hogan, 2016).

All educational scholars and researchers of instructional coaching describe the importance of the observer knowing what to “look for” when entering a classroom. While experts vary on what observers should look for, most well-developed frameworks have overlapping elements that are common. The Commission on Lutheran School’s (CLS) Ministerial Growth and Evaluation Program (MGEP) suggests a framework that synthesizes the common elements and focuses on those that are central to student learning and associated with what good teachers do. The elements of this framework are embedded in the MLC Learning-Focused Instruction macro-credential. By mastering these elements, both the observer and the teachers have a common language and understanding of good teaching.

Popular and more complicated frameworks include those by McREL (2011), Marzano (2007), and Danielson, (2007). These frameworks use between fifteen and forty-one elements, or look-fors. The Ministerial Growth and Evaluation Program focuses on the seven most powerful. It is suggested that a school begin with the MGEP framework and branch out to more complex ones after the MGEP framework is mastered.

Kraft, M., Blazar, D., Hogan, D. (2016). The effect of teacher coaching on instruction and achievement: A meta-analysis of the causal evidence. Brown University Working Paper. Retrieved from https://scholar.harvard.edu/mkraft/publications/effect-teacher-coaching-instruction-and-achievement-meta-analysis-causal


The following are useful tools to better understand the topic:

Moss, C., & Brookhart S. (2015). Formative classroom walkthroughs: How principals and teachers collaborate to raise student achievement. Alexandria VA: ASCD. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/115003.aspx

D’Orio, W. (2017). 5 Tips for Conducting Better Teacher Observations. School Leaders Now. Retrieved from https://schoolleadersnow.weareteachers.com/5-tips-for-conducting-better-classroom-observations/

Formative Supervision: Focus on Student Learning (video): https://vimeo.com/168235365

WELS MGEP Framework: https://sites.google.com/gapps.wels.net/wmgep/module-2-coaching-a-formative-process/the-supervision-for-teacher-growth-cycle


A look-fors micro-credential earner can do the following:

  1. Create a shared framework for good teaching within the faculty.
  2. Identify what to look for when observing instruction.
  3. Facilitate meaningful discussions about student learning using a shared framework.


Submit an essay

Create an essay of 300 – 500 words that describes the following:

  1. The framework of good teaching adopted by the school.
  2. How the framework is used to identify and communicate elements of effective instruction.
  3. Ways the faculty has developed a shared understanding of the framework.

Submit documentation

Provide evidence that the entire faculty is conversant in the same framework and elements of effective instruction. Documentation might include

  1. Meeting agendas
  2. Meeting notes or minutes
  3. Training records
  4. Observation notes

Submit a video

The video-recording should fulfill the following:

  1. Represent a pre- or post-observation conference.
  2. Show the teacher and instructional coach discussing at least one element of instruction within the framework.
  3. Be edited to no longer than 15 minutes.



Moss, C., & Brookhart S. (2015). Formative classroom walkthroughs: How principals and teachers collaborate to raise student achievement. Alexandria VA: ASCD. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/115003.aspx

Danielson, C. (2007). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching (2nd Ed.). Alexandria VA: ASCD. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/106034.aspx

Marzano, R. (2007). The art and science of teaching. Alexandria VA: ASCD. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107001.aspx

Dean, D., Hubbell, E. R., Pitler, H., & Stone, B. (2012). Classroom instruction that works. Alexandra VA: ASCD. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/classroom-instruction-that-works.aspx


Commission on Lutheran Schools. (n.d). Module 2: Ministerial growth and evaluation program. https://sites.google.com/gapps.wels.net/wmgep/module-2-coaching-a-formative-process/the-supervision-for-teacher-growth-cycle

Houser, K. (n.d.) 11 things coaches should look for in classroom observations. Retrieved from https://www.mshouser.com/instructional-coaching/11-things-coaches-should-look-for-in-classroom-observations

Pitler, H., & Goodwin, B. (2008). Classroom walkthroughs: Learning to see the trees and the forest. Changing Schools. Summer. 9-11. Retrieved from http://www.mikemcmahon.info/ClassroomObservation.pdf

Wren, S. (2008). What are people looking for when they walk through my classroom? Website: BalancedReading.com. Retrieved from http://www.balancedreading.com/ClassroomWalkthroughGuide.pdf


What should an administrator look for during a classroom visit? https://youtu.be/yNIE57r7sb4

Martin Luther College Courses

EDU9509 Elements of Effective Instruction – 1 credit (continuing education)

EDU5302 Supervision of Instruction – 3 credits (graduate)

Learning-Focused Instruction Macro-Credential series: https://mlc-wels.edu/continuing-education/learning-focused-instruction/