Learning Walk for Social-Emotional Learning

Focus Area: Social-Emotional Learning

CInstructional Coaches, LLeaders

Pathway: Ownership


BetterLesson believes that school and district leaders are first and foremost instructional leaders, investing in people and systems to improve learning opportunities and outcomes for students. Our goal is to provide leaders with processes, tools, and support for making organizational change and improving learning for students. We can help build leaders’ capacity in instructional leadership through a Learning Walk, a non-evaluative process used by leaders to assess the quality of student learning and effectiveness of instruction in their buildings, focusing on how leaders can support improvements to the learning experience. Learning Walks will consist of two learning experiences, a Learning Walk Launch and a Learning Walk Cycle.

In this Social-Emotional Learning Walk, leaders will have the opportunity to get into classrooms, develop familiarity with skills and strategies aligned to the core competencies of Social-Emotional learning, and examine trends across classrooms to better support teachers and students. We will do a deep dive into the evidence and look-fors of SEL practices in the classroom and available supports and resources for social emotional learning.


This Learning Walk is designed for school and district leaders, instructional coaches, and teacher leaders who are implementing Social-Emotional Learning in their schools or districts and would like to take a student-centered approach to their role by developing their craft in coaching, observation, and feedback.


These Social-Emotional Learning Targets can be selected for the Learning Walk Cycle sessions to take a deeper dive into evidence of these outcomes in the classroom and student learning.

  • Self-Management and Self-Awareness: I can develop my self management and self awareness by employing strategies aligned to the core competencies of social emotional learning.
  • Responsible Decision-Making: I can define and incorporate responsible decision-making skills into my instruction that support students to analyze consequences, make decisions that promote collective wellbeing, and create a more just and equitable learning environment.
  • Relationships and Social Awareness: I can support the development of positive relationships and social awareness by building a collaborative and supportive learning community.

Learning Experience


The Learning Walk Launch can be experienced as a 1-day in person workshop with an onsite BetterLesson coach guiding classroom walk-throughs, or as a 2-hour virtual workshop facilitated by a BetterLesson coach, followed by independent classroom walk-throughs.

In the Learning Walk Launch, participants will:


  • Explore the benefits of a Learning Walk:
    • To build capacity of school leadership
    • To identify “look-fors” in Social-Emotional Learning instruction
    • To effectively support change
  • Build understanding around the five competencies of Social-Emotional Learning and the ways in which these practices and skills manifest in the classroom to support the development of emotional competence
  • Be oriented to and examine a tool to facilitate the Learning Walk process for the Social-Emotional Learning Focus Area
  • Prioritize Targets for Social-Emotional Learning in their own school context


  • Practice using the Learning Walk tool by participating in short, group classroom walk-throughs (in-person) or by evaluating curated artifacts and resources (virtual)
  • Collaboratively reflect on the Learning Walk process and tool


  • Synthesize data from the Learning Walk using a digital tool to identify trends in the evidence they collected
  • Build a plan for implementing Learning Walks in their schools


After participating in a Learning Walk Launch, participants will engage in professional learning community cycles focusing on one target area within Social-Emotional Learning. The Learning Walk Cycle can be experienced as a 1-day in person workshop with an onsite BetterLesson coach guiding classroom walk-throughs, or as two 2-hour virtual workshops, facilitated online by a BetterLesson coach, with independent classroom walk-throughs.

In the Learning Walk Cycle, leaders will:


  • Build understanding around the key components of the Social-Emotional Learning Target area
  • Take a deep dive into the “look-fors” and evidence of this Target within the classroom using curated artifacts to identify exemplars
  • Prioritize look-fors within a Target to develop a focus for the Learning Walk


  • Collect data and evidence for the Social-Emotional Learning Target through participating in independent classroom walk-throughs and evaluating curated artifacts
  • Collaboratively experience a protocol to reflect on the effectiveness of using a narrow lens when observing student learning


  • Synthesize data from the Learning Walk using a digital tool to identify trends with the evidence they collected
  • Align on the evidence for a particular look-for in a target area and evaluate the effectiveness of the tool for that target in their context
  • Analyze their learning around the Learning Walk process to help build a plan for continued implementation