Guiding Principals of Professional Learning Communities

10 October 2016

Normally, in a professional learning community also known as a PLC, the educators work together brainstorming ideas, lessons, and activities that will support a plan to be implemented all in hopes of the student’s achievement. A professional learning community can benefit a school’s environment by reinforcing teacher morale and leadership skills. As the school moves forward, every professional in the building must engage with colleagues in the ongoing exploration of three crucial questions that drive the work of those within a professional learning community: • What do we want each student to learn? How will we know when each student has learned it? • How will we respond when a student experiences difficulty in learning? The answer to the third question separates learning communities from traditional schools. A PLC can serve as a support system that motivates teachers to follow a guided plan. Educators who are building a professional learning community recognize that they must work together to achieve their collective purpose of learning for all. Therefore, they create structures to promote a collaborative culture.

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This plan can include classroom assistants, parent volunteers, and other school personnel like librarians. The PLC culture can influence teachers through numbers. When teachers come together and have strength in numbers they can support each other, collaborate, and brainstorm the most effective methods and techniques to instruct the students. Even the grandest design eventually translates into hard work. The professional learning community model is a grand design, a powerful new way of working ogether that profoundly affects the practices of schooling. But initiating and sustaining the concept requires hard work. This is where the challenges may arise. It requires the school staff to focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and hold itself accountable for the kind of results that fuel continual improvement. A PLC will construct a solid foundation of committed teachers who are passionate about their career and working with families and fellow colleagues.

The benefit(s) of a PLC is that everyone has the opportunity to be involved and share goals and positive learning experiences of the schools learning environment. When educators do the hard work necessary to implement these principles, their collective ability to help all students learn will rise. If they fail to demonstrate the discipline to initiate and sustain this work, then their school is unlikely to become more effective, even if those within it claim to be a professional learning community.

The rise or fall of the professional learning community concept depends not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school; the commitment and persistence of the educators within it. In conclusion, educators who work together form structured atmospheres that promote learning. References Barth, R. (1991). Restructuring schools: Some questions for teachers and principals. Phi Delta Kappan, 73(2), 123-129. Marzano, R. (2003). What works in Schools: Translating research into action, Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

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