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
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: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/31653/
DuFour, D. E. (2010). Learning By Doing. Bloomington: Solution Tree Press.