Klea Scharberg

Professional Learning Communities Roundup

Whether it be in a single school or online, in study groups, action research teams, communities of practice, or conversation circles, educators working together with a shared focus on learning and accountability help all students learn to high levels. In October we looked at professional learning communities (PLCs) and how they provide collaborative environments where staff members take an active part in improving teaching and learning.

Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests C. Robert Maxfield, associate professor and teacher leadership coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership at Oakland University in Michigan; Steven Weber, director of secondary instruction for Orange County Schools in Hillsborough, N.C.; and Sunndip Panesar, a grades 6–12 online/distributed learning teacher in Vancouver, Canada.

Ask yourself if you are a lifelong learner and whether you are inspiring the same in your students through seeking knowledge and skills, sharing insights and feedback, and being committed to self-evaluation.

Know the six principles of successful PLCs and discover what research and practice reveal about professional learning.

Understand that worthwhile professional learning takes time and support.

Avoid the five dysfunctions of a PLC: lack of norms, lack of team goals, lack of trust, lack of communication, and lack of essential learning outcomes.

Maximize the benefits of teamwork for professional growth with ASCD Express, including improving teaching practices, developing solutions to common challenges, and raising levels of student achievement.

Read about the collaborative coaching model that a school in Mexico adopted and how the collaborative lesson planning, observation, and constructive criticism has improved teaching practice and fostered increased openness and trust between teachers and administrators. Find more on the new leadership skill of coaching in the October 2011 issue of Educational Leadership magazine.

Build a school of integrity through making professional growth an ongoing and shared responsibility and fostering a culture of open feedback.

Engage with teachers, principals, administrators, researchers, school staff, authors, and other professionals who work or have an interest in education on ASCD EDge®, a free social networking tool featuring discussions, interest groups, and multiple ways to share and learn.

Find information on collaborating professionally to ensure that all students learn at high levels from whole child partners the American Association of School Administrators; Association for Middle Level Education; National Association of Elementary School Principals; National Association of Secondary School Principals; and National Education Association.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

To keep up with the latest technology and successfully personalize learning for each student, teachers at Forest Lake Elementary in Columbia, S.C., plan lessons together, build a strong support network, and collaborate on professional development. Learn more about Forest Lake and other K–12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn in Edutopia's Schools That Work series.

Who is in your professional learning community, and how do you collaborate to improve student learning?

Comments (1)

Who is in Your Professional Learning Community? |

November 7, 2011

[...] October, The Whole Child blogged on Professional Learning Communities and we followed along with [...]

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