Preparing Students for Gallery Walk

Gallery Walk will be new to most students. To maximize learning, provide students with a brief introduction on why you are implementing this group discussion technique. The applicability of the suggestions below will depend on the scope and depth of the particular Gallery Walk exercise. Few of the suggestions below will apply for "Gallery Runs" that are of short duration. On the other hand, more of these suggestions are appropriate for full-period Gallery Walks in which group members will be using cooperative learning techniques and will have their work formally evaluated. To discover the difference between a "Gallery Walk" and a "Gallery Run" see Step by Step Instructions.

  1. Explain the Gallery Walk procedure and importance of being able to work in groups: After outlining how to conduct a Gallery Walk, emphasize that for success in industry, business, or academia individuals need to be able to work successfully in groups. Some students might be reluctant to fully participate because of a natural preference for working alone or due to prior bad experiences with group activities. These fears can be overcome by writing explicit instructions and promoting individual accountability.
  2. For a Gallery Walk in which cooperative learning skills are needed, assign and explain the roles of each group member: to achieve "buy in" make clear the responsibilities of different group members.
    • Leader - keeps the group on task, encourages participation, keeps conversation civil, assures that all group members understand key points.
    thumbnail of black and white image of students at table
    Source: Buffalo State University
    • Recorder - writes group responses on poster sheets and prepares the written report out.
    • Reporter - presents the group's thoughts on a question to the class.
    • Monitor - makes sure that responses are made at the top of poster sheets so there is room for the next group. Acts as timekeeper for timed activities.
    • Wildcard (in groups of five) - acts as an assistant to any member that needs help. If the activity spans more than one class period than this person can take the role of any member that is absent.
  3. Review evaluation criteria: so students take Gallery Walk more seriously, tell them how they will be assessed. Students can be evaluated informally with the instructor simply asking probing questions and with no grade being assigned, or can be evaluated through more formal oral and written evaluation. Model templates for formal evaluation of group participation, oral reports, and written reports can be found in Assessing Gallery Walk.
  4. Prepare guidance on providing constructive comments: Oral and written feedback needs to have a positive tone with suggestions for improvement addressing ideas rather than the author who originally made the comment. Comments need to be made as suggestions and not commands.

Image Source: Buffalo State University, 2004. Whiteboarding In The Classroom,, accessed 15 November 2004.