It is fairly easy to tell in the first 10 minutes of watching a class if there is actual learning going on that day. When it comes to walkthroughs, however, I have found that there is not so much a search for "learning" as a search for specific items deemed important by some external body. For example, I have been reprimanded over the past three years for lacking (at one time or another): a) posted objectives, b) current student work, c) state standards. Instead of spending the time to truly listen and watch what is going on, the focus is on these individual items.
My main quandary here is not so much that the walkthroughs exist - it is the fact that there does not seem to be any research behind their implementation. I have asked many people how or why it is important to student learning that I post my objectives, have loads of student work, or have a list of the state standards and have not received any cogent responses. If those in charge of maintaining the quality of education in schools do not, themselves, keep up on current research of pedagogy, how are they supposed to know what to look for?
Unfortunately I am not as well versed as I would like to be in this field. As a third year teacher I do feel like I have a handle on many things in my classroom but I still think on a macro level of what is going on around Philadelphia. The teaching across the city is deeply important to me, though, so I want to make sure that those in charge of giving teachers red, yellow, or green dots based on our proficiency in teaching are assessing us in a valid way. Don't you?