Sunday, November 11, 2012

RSA #2 Professional learning Communities

RSA#2 Professional Learning Communities


     PLC’s are quickly becoming the venue districts are using to facilitate student growth.  As with all school initiatives you want to see student growth.  There are always good intentions when developing the PLC and the SMART goals, but how do we make sure that what we want to see happen will?  According to DuFour (DuFour, 2010) there are negative habits that teachers must avoid, giving a student a chance to learn to the best of his or her ability is not enough.  Lessons and practices must align to promote student learning.  Along with aligning goals to promote learning, educators must work interdependently.  Educators need to work on a specific balance of attainable goals. Some goals need to be short term while the others cannot be accomplished without significant changes in practices (DuFour, 2010).

     The article Professional Learning Communities (Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2012)  explains details of an effective PLC.  The article states that through the PLC process a teacher will build capacity in the area of leadership, while experiencing collaboration that is effective for enhancing student outcomes.  It cites various researches while trying to define a PLC.  One can summarize a common theme throughout the various definitions cited as; a PLC is a group of committed professionals practicing collaboration while sharing a common vision, all for the purpose of enhancing student learning. A researcher named S. Hard is cited in the article for defining a PLC as an infrastructure or a way of working together that results in continuous school improvement (Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2012).  As the article continues you learn that a PLC should have student learning and teacher leadership as its core and build from there.

     Professional Learning Communities tells us that a true PLC is a process not a model.  It lists the following as an effective professional learning community’s characteristics:

·         Collaborative culture

·         Focus on examining outcomes to improve student learning

·         Supportive and shared leadership

·         Shared personal practice

The articles continue with supports needed for an effective PLC.  It lists examples of supports at the building administrative level and then it goes into some details about district level supports that are necessary to have a successful PLC.  The article agrees with what I read by DuFour,  that “time” is probably the most valuable resource an effective PLC needs to have.  It suggests different strategies that have been attempted in order to allot the needed time to have a sustaining PLC.  Common plan time or combining classes to free up teachers are two of the example strategies given to help solve the issues that revolve around giving teachers the tie they need to get the job done correctly.

     The article Professional Learning Communities proved to be full of valuable resources.  It suggests websites to go to and also has a full reference section that includes studies and professional educational research links.


Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement. (2012, November 9). Reading Rockets. Retrieved from WETAS:

DuFour, D. E. (2010). Learning By Doing. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.


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