Prep: Setting a Focus & Selecting a Student
- Have a conversation with your team about what you all hope to learn from the student shadow activity.
- Choose a student who offers a window into the equity challenge you are considering taking on. For example, if your organization or school has identified Latino males as a group that is underserved by your model, consider shadowing a Latino male student to get firsthand perspective on his experiences in school.
- Choose a student whose experiences are likely to be typical or representative in an important way. In the example above, for instance, you might choose a Latino male student whose course schedule most closely fits a typical Latino male’s schedule in the school you are visiting.
During the Shadow
- At the start of the day, introduce yourself to the students and explain what you are doing and why.
- Accompany your student to all of their classes throughout the school day and immerse yourself in the student experience.
- Use the observation notes to capture what you see happening while during the shadow. Some example questions you may want to answer in your observation notes could include what is your student doing, when is your student most/least engaged, or what do you notice about when your student seems most/least motivated.
- Be respectful of the students, teachers, and school community that you are visiting. Dress and behave professionally.
- Approach shadowing and observing with an open and curious mind. Avoid generalizations, judgements, and evaluations
- Focus your attention on the student’s experience. Avoid the temptation to describe the whole classroom; note the teacher’s behavior only as it relates to your student.
- The purpose of the shadowing experience is to immerse yourself in a single student’s experience.
- Capturing the overall environment of a given classroom is an assignment for another day.
- Make an effort to be as unobtrusive as possible; do not interrupt or otherwise disrupt classes
- Thank teachers – and your student – for allowing you to share their day Relax and allow yourself to observe your own mood and feelings as well as your student’s
- After the shadowing activity, complete the accompanying individual reflection questions here in slides 7-10 of the Student Shadow Kit
- Meet with your team (in person or virtually) to share experiences and reflections using a structured discussion protocol, which can be accessed here in the Team Reflection Protocol.
- Prior to beginning this conversation, please nominate a member of your team to take notes. These notes should be the basis for the team’s written response to the Core Team Reflection Protocol.