Challenges in Implementing Gallery Walk

Challenges in implementing Gallery Walk involve student response, colleague or department concerns, and material setup.

Student Response

thumbnail of cognitive burden
Source: The Communication Circle
Many of these concerns can be addressed in Step by Step Instructions and Preparing Students for Gallery Walk which provide students with a rationale and introduction to Gallery Walk.

Lack of student participation- some group members are not taking part in discussion or talking about subjects other than earth science.

Possible Responses: gently bring students back on task by asking questions like "Your group seems to think ..... about this issue. How would you rephrase or summarize what has been discussed so far?" or "What similarities and differences do you see between the responses you are giving at this station and what was summarized at the last station?"; enact formal group evaluation that counts for a grade; reduce the time at each station, forcing students to spend their time on addressing the task at hand.

Resistance to discussion method - some students prefer memorization and regurgitation to discussion; some students are introverted and don't like interacting with others.

Possible Response: emphasize how critical thinking, team building, and collaborative interaction are much sought after job skills; commiserate - agree that thinking can be hard work; stress the need for collegial, when preparing students for a Gallery Walk stress the need for good listening skills and welcoming responses; emphasize that group leaders have a responsibility to solicit responses from ALL group members.

Concerns over Assessment - this isn't a multiple choice test; how will I be graded fairly? In a group no less?

Possible Response: provide students with an evaluation rubric ahead of time showing showing that assessment is equitable; assign grades based on individual accountability as well as group grades.

Colleague or Department Concerns

Colleague or Department Opposition - peers frown on Gallery Walk because all material in syllabus is not being covered, content that will be needed in the next higher level course.

Possible Response: Gallery Walk does take time from traditional lecture, but "covering" material is not necessarily equated with students being able to construct meaning and being able to critically evaluate a key concept. Gallery Walk helps embrace these two valued skills. Covering key concepts in greater depth will assure less review being needed later.

Material Setup

Appropriate Room/Space - the ideal class size for conducting a Gallery Walk seems to be twenty to thirty students, what if the classroom is too small or there are more than thirty students in the class?

Possible Response: in large enrollment classes create Gallery Walk "sections" located in separate parts of the room where the same Gallery Walk will be conducted simultaneously.

Cost of materials - a set of markers, poster paper, or whiteboards for one class of 20 would cost around hundred dollars, more for larger classes.

Possible Response: for discussion purposes use pieces of paper on tables rather that post-its; use whiteboards which can be used over again.

Time required to conduct a Gallery Walk - too much class time required for a discussion technique that is hard to assess.

Possible Response: an effective Gallery Walk can be conducted in under twenty minutes; Gallery Walks stress covering a topic in greater depth than normally addressed in lecture; as such, it deserves a place in any class curriculum; Gallery Walk can be assessed and there are provisions for individual accountability. See Assessing Gallery Walk for a variety of assessment rubrics.

Image Source: Communication Circle, 2004. Web Writing That Works!,, accessed 17 November 2004.