A LYS Campus Leader sends in the following question…




This morning, we were having a discussion about the Power Zone. We realized that we need some clarification on how proximity, teacher location and teacher activity impact the determination of if a teacher is in the Power Zone when we are conducting a classroom observation.


SC Response

The Power Zone is simply defined as “Proximity Teaching or Monitoring.”


If the teacher is in close proximity to one or more of her students, and she is teaching or monitoring, she is in the Power Zone. By close proximity it is meant that she can literally reach out and touch a student. This can be in a one-on-one interaction, a small group interaction, or working the entire room in a large group setting.


Why is this important? The education research points out that the more time a teacher spends in the Power Zone, student on-task behavior increases, student retention increases, and student discipline issues decrease. We now know that where a teacher says something can be as important as what the teachers says. Additionally, being in the Power Zone is how the teacher is able to implement and manage most other high-yield instructional practices. So along with being the easiest to implement, “Best Practice,” Working in the Power Zone is the pre-requisite for almost all other best practices.


In the extensive field observations conducted by Lead Your School, we have found that the typical teacher is in the Power Zone 30% to 50% of the time. At the low end of the scale for secondary teachers and at the high end for elementary teachers. This is neither good nor bad, this is typical. The super star teacher is observed in the Power Zone in excess of 75% of the time. Often twice the rate of the typical teacher. But even with the super star, there is no 100% of the time spent in the Power Zone. 100% is not the expectation and is unrealistic for any school using 100% as a goal. The goal is to spend more time in the Power Zone and to make that time meaningful.


For those using the PowerWalks Formative Classroom Observation Protocol, we document teacher location just once per observation, right when we first see the teacher. We do this to give the teacher accurate information about where she spends instructional time, prior to the observer changing the instructional environment. Due to this, both the teacher and the observer must realize that there is no penalty or “gotcha” because they are not in the Power Zone when the observer walks into the room. It happens. As stated above, a teacher cannot spend 100% of her time in the Power Zone. However, the observer is viewed as a cue. If the observer enters the room and the teacher is not in the Power Zone, all that is expected is at the next, best opportunity, the teacher moves to the Power Zone.


I hope this clears things up.


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