“McLaughlin and Talbert (2006) defined professional learning communities as “[organizational structures in which] teachers work collaboratively to reflect on their practice, examine evidence about the relationship between practice and student outcomes, and make changes that improve teaching and learning for the particular students in their classes” (pp. 3–4).” (Teague, 2012, pg. 58) This quote explains what I personally think of professional learning communities should be and what areas they should focus on. The problem that I have faced in a professional learning community is colleagues that aren’t willing to change. I have experienced several individuals who would not put the time into gathering data or was reluctant to share their findings. I think having individuals that are not willing to participate dampen the mood of the group and help put a negative spin on the process. The best way to eliminate this problem is by having everyone on board and have them collect authentic data. Authentic data help show what areas the teacher needs to focus on. If data is authentic then there should be no arguments on what is going wrong inside the classroom. As a teacher I will collect authentic data by working with my colleagues and developing authentic assessments to collect the information I need. By collaborating with other staff members we can find out what ways work the best for collecting data useful for the group and
These rules are displayed throughout the school and are referred to continuously by staff and children equally. We also have class rules that have been developed by the children themselves and are a positive device for encouraging good behaviour. The children can then monitor their own behaviour as well as the behaviour of other children in the class.
Dr. Fremstad has been instrumental in the implementation of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at West Fargo High School. She understands the power of teacher collaboration and has led the charge to train and monitor the program with fidelity. Jennifer has inspired educators to share student evidence of learning and extend intervention or enrichment learning opportunities based on the data. In addition, she advocates on the importance of frequent classroom visitations with her leadership team and establishes annual visitation goals to support teachers and
Roberts, S. & Pruitt, E. (2003). Schools as Professional Learning Communities: Collaborative Activities and Strategies for Professional Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Unfortunately, thorough research on the impact of professional development on student achievement is limited because it is challenging, complex and expensive to study. Nonetheless, Hoaglund, Birkenfeld, and Box, (2015), conducted a study that illustrated that learning communities are viable tools for providing professional development to both pre-service teachers and current teachers. Their study showed how a group of pre-service teachers and their supervisors participated in a professional experience learning community for two terms prior to the pre-service teacher’s junior year at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Questionnaires and interviews were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The results of the study indicated that all participants valued the experience and consequently were able to gain and identify some benefits of a professional learning community (PLC). Participants specifically reported a greater appreciation of collaboration with more experienced educators as a practical way of solving issues and implementing processes and procedures for increasing student achievement. The activities incorporated within the
Though the idea of working collaboratively is not a new one, the concept of professional learning communities (PLCs) has recently become very popular in education. During the summer of 2012, the Pasco County School District introduced the concept of PLCs into its schools in an effort to improve student learning in this era of increased educational scrutiny and accountability. Department heads suddenly found themselves relabeled PLC facilitators and called to attend two days of summer training meant to prepare them to lead PLCs once the school year began. The other PLC participants, the
1). Consequently, teachers need training and support through professional learning communities (PLC) as they “…have proven to be a cornerstone of effective teaching and, in underperforming schools, a catalyst for improvement” (Farbman, Goldberg, & Miller, 2014, p. 10). As a result, my plan proposes following Claudet’s model of a change agent (2011) by inspiring stakeholders to become collaborative partners in remedying academic gaps. It begins with the faculty analyzing student data scores to prioritize topics, designing a timeframe to meet goals, and identifying the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. Once this is determined, several teachers would attend summer or fall training sessions to develop strategies to address the learning needs of low-achieving students because “…collective leadership has positive effects on student achievement” (Barth, 2001, p. 12). The trained teachers would provide monthly PLC activities to cultivate developmental and cultural instructional strategies, analyze student progress, share successes, and problem-solve concerns. Measurement of the effectiveness of the training occurs through staff participation, observations, and classroom formative and summative assessments, as recorded through the software programs provided to the teachers at the beginning of the
In his article, Richard DuFour outlines the “big ideas” that represent the core principles of professional learning communities. He explores how the core principles of professional learning communities guide school efforts to sustain the professional learning community model until it is embedded in the school culture.
Professional learning communities (PLCs) are communities of educators who work and meet together to collaborate. Their goal is to make sure students are learning the content everyone is teaching. A “highly effective” learning community involves educators who are willing to work with others. Educators who do not make excuses for why students are not learning, and they view growth as positive thing. In effective PLCs, staff members meet on a regular basis, these meetings can be formal and informal. One big takeaway is to ensure teachers are not working in isolation. Members of the PLC work with one another to analyze student work and data, and use that information to better serve those that are not meeting the objectives.
With the shift in professional learning from collecting PLUs to one focused on improving teaching and learning, it is important that teacher leaders play a role in implementing professional learning communities and helping to make sure accountability in professional learning. I am excited about the opportunity to share these changes and new expectations with fellow teachers. A fellow teacher and I have been trained on the upcoming changes and will be redelivering it to other teachers at our school in the near
Traditionally, teacher development typically occurs through trial and error in the isolated confinements of each teacher’s classroom with some periodic whole-group professional development (Goddard & Goddard, 2007). Within the past few decades, many schools and districts, including ours, have considered and experimented with Professional Learning Communities (PLC) as an alternative framework in guiding a more efficient development program for their teachers. PLCs are focused on enhancing student learning through developing teacher practices. The concept of PLC relies on using structured collaborative sessions amongst teachers within the school to build internal capacity. Through PLCs, teachers critically reflect on current
Classroom management is important for every teacher and students alike and Sarah makes particular reference to her classroom management strategies that begin with the display of her classroom rules. The rules were discussed with students at the beginning of the year and they ensure a smooth and happy environment for all her students. She also found it important to place a little picture next to it as “when working with ESL kids it’s really important to have visual cues for them because often a lot of writing puts them off and so if they see the visual cue then that’ll prompt them into what the rule is” (Sarah, 2003).
When PLC is in place teachers will set higher expectations on their student’s achievements. They will also encourage their students that they can reach such high demands while suppling them with the resources to reach their goal. Students will be confident that they can count on their teachers and lean on their peers when trying to achieve ambitions learning goals. Professional learning communities gives professional educators the opportunities to look deeply into the process of teaching and learning where they can learn how to become more effective in their work with their
Very interesting questions, Tim. Is a designated leader needed for teacher collaboration? I believe that is your question. When I was a teacher at Carmel High School, we held PLC meetings weekly. During the first year, the administration appointed leaders to each PLC. The second year, the administration team changed their directive and allowed teachers to form their own PLC's in groups of 4-5, following the same format as the previous year. What happened when they allowed the staff an option of their team and leaders was amazing. The staff took, what during the first year as a directive, and during the second year with given the room to self-identify their group leader, outcomes started to occur. From that point on, annually the teachers
The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.