4. Instead, a PLC represents the institutionalization of a focus on continuous improvement in staff performance as well as student learning. In them, teachers work collaboratively to reflect on practice. The meeting facilitator role may be performed by the same person who handles the logistics or by another individual. including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from ASCD. Itâs important to note that parts of this process call for tight alignment between teachers and donât allow for the creativity and autonomy teachers may be used to. EdutopiaÂ® and Lucas Education Researchâ¢ are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries. â¦ See if any of them are interested in joining a PLC investigating differentiated instruction, and if they have suggestions for others you might contact. Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment. 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 â¦ You might choose to meet twice a month (or every 2 weeks), using the first session of each month to review readings and do content-based activities and the second session to discuss reports of classroom activities and the student work that resulted. In a Professional Learning ommunity, ^learning _ is the fundamental purpose of the school. Administrators should be able to help you with needs for time, space, and other resources. Asking why, asking for evidence (âhow do you know that?â), and the like are not personal challenges. Give as many details as you can and also stress that some of the details will be worked out collaboratively at the first meeting. What: A group of four to six studying and trying out differentiated instruction strategies in the classroom. Make announcements and distribute flyers. Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, have become crucial in designing school-wide strategies dedicated to helping students achieve their potential. Develop an ethic of commitment, as well, sharing your time, energy and resources for the good of the group. Everyone (including you) will benefit. A professional learning community, or PLC, is an organizational structure by design that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students. Organizing your meeting should include attention to scheduling, attendance, roles, and ground rules. Teams determine the topics they want to learn and the methods they want to use to gain the knowledge. New educators can be added at any time, and team members can share files and collaborate in channels, â¦ In some cases, "teacher communities are not as robust as cross-role communities," says Giselle Martin-Kniep, founder of Communities for Learning: Leading Lasting Change. Here youâll find samples of tools you can copy and distribute freely within your team, school, and district to guide your work. Where will you find others interested in such a commitment? We will meet regularly, and work between meetings, with these goals: When and Where: Our first meeting is ___________________________. Professional Learning Communities Defined. The number could be flexible, of course, but it needs to be large enough to bring a diversity of perspectives and experiences to the table and small enough to allow specific discussions of each member's work. No part of this publication—including the drawings, graphs, illustrations, or chapters, except for brief quotations in Welcome! Hold an open house. critical reviews or articles—may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, You will be developing a classroom and school climate in which learning is more about increasing student understanding of a topic than about the good grades that result. Collaborate and communicate with students, parents, other educators, administrators and the community to support student learning PLCs allow educators opportunities to directly improve teaching and learning. Here are three strategies. Form PLC teams around interest areas, grade levels, or across subjects. The first response stance, to any topic, should be âLet's see what we can find out about that.â, Review of roles and expectations (as needed), Sharing and reflecting on classroom experiences and reviewing student work (one or more responsible for preparing), Introduction of new topic (facilitator responsible), Identify what to read and reflect on before next meeting, Make commitments about classroom activities all will try and who will be responsible for presenting at the next meeting, If pairs are not permanent features of your group, identify who will work with whom for classroom trials. Alexandria, VA 22311-1714. Some examples include: a 2-hour introduction to using protocols to promote teacher collaboration for a school staff; a one-day session for building-level administrators on how to support professional learning community efforts in their schools; a follow-up retreat for trained coaches from one school or district to provide PLC â¦ The PLC is designed for teacher learning, and thus the team must balance risk taking and teacher autonomy with shared expectations for student learning. In order to achieve success for students, we do need some common practices. âHigh performing schools help teachers improve instruction by learning â¦ Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) seem to be everywhere these days. Building principals and other district administrators are good sources of names. TeacherTube - TeacherTube is an online community for educators and other people who want to share instructional videos. Try for general expectations that will help build an open and inquiry-oriented community, not narrow ârules.â Your group will decide on its own ground rules, but we urge you to consider these as possibilities. She would be responsible for bringing to the group the questions she wanted to discuss. Questioning is the hallmark of an inquiry approach. Plan and deliver effective instruction that advances the learning of each individual student. A successful PLC requires teachers to take the time to meet for discussion and to work between meetings to read informational pieces and reflect on them and to try things in the classroom and collect evidence about the results. Welcome to an adventure! Introduce the topic of differentiated instruction so people can make an informed decision about whether they would like to participate. A group of four to six teachers or administrators. This is why you are joining a professional learning community. MISSION: ASCD empowers educators to achieve excellence in learning, teaching, and leading so that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Every group member should have such a responsibility at least once during the year. Education-Related Learning Communities. It is a matter of inquiry to what extent students do understand learning targets and feedback, and to what extent such practices can be improved or more tailored to specific student needs. PLCs are not a zero-sum game where if one person gets time, energy, or commitment another loses it. The answer may be found in the collaboration achieved in professional learning communities (PLCs). Within various session activities, leadership of discussion and provision of content should rotate, and should be mutually agreed on before the next meeting. Invite people to the meeting using either of the methods above, and specify that it will be an informational meeting only. A professional learning community (PLC) involves much more than a staff meeting or group of teachers getting together to discuss a book theyâve read. Ken Dirkin Dirkin is the Director of Online Professional Learning at Michigan Virtual , a nonprofit provider of digital learning solutions for This is a bigger deal than you might think, as you will find when you and your colleagues begin to discuss what things mean in the course of your PLC work. Sometimes teachers in a PLC are afraid to engage in conflict or explore different ideas, worrying that even productive conflict signals that one is ânot a team player.â Conversely, teachers may feel pressured to get work done and feel they donât have time to spend in conflict. A smaller group within an existing group may decide they have a mutual interest in investigating differentiated instruction. If you are reading this workbook, you may already have committed to becoming a member of a PLC investigating differentiated instruction. Where will you find others interested in such a commitment? The idea of improving schools by developing professional learning communities is currently in vogue. 1703 North Beauregard St. 1. Teachers identify what is hard to teach and what is hard to learn in the standards so that they can anticipate interventions and extensions. The Professional Learning Community Guidance Document: Instructional Team Guidelines and Responsibilities for Establishing and Maintaining Professional Learning Communities is intended as a reference tool to frame the work of developing and strengthening instructional teams at the school level. It is OK to question. This can lead to situations where team members have a facilitator who is strongly advocating for an idea rather than allowing for all voices to be heard, and team members may not feel safe to speak up or take risks. Sam Kaner coined the term Groan Zone to describe the space between a problem being posed and a solution being reached, and he described the divergent and convergent thinking that occurs there. Learning together becomes a schoolwide value. PLCsâwhich harness âan ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serveââare a common and proven practice to promote teacher collaboration that increases student achievement. When structured well, they can be teams that constantly learn together and work to discover what is best for students. The schoolâs curriculum, instructional design, and assessment practices are monitored through â¦ Develop an ethic of sharing. Professional Learning Communities at Work Plan Book 2006 Solution Tree 6 Sample Meeting Record page 1 Sample Meeting Record Page 2 Topic Discussion Points Decisions Issues/Ideas for Future Meetings: Assignments: What Who When Site-based Collaborative Learning Teams meet weekly to implement a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum to Plan student learning experiences, Assess student competency of Minnesota state standards, â¦ This clarity can make space for open conversation. Professional Learning Communities help focus everyone towards the common goal of improving student learning. For example, teachers often say they already share their learning targets with students, or give clear feedback, and the like. All rights reserved. We The Teachers - Created specifically for teachers, this online community provides â¦ If you can manage to have an even number of participants, colleagues can work in pairs between sessions, which has added benefits: it decreases the number of projects to be discussed at any one time and it increases the options available for working on the projects. It would be wise to have an explicit expectation that all members commit to attending all sessions except, of course, for emergencies. The answer may be found in the collaboration achieved in professional learning communities (PLCs). When initiating a new PLC cycle, encourage teachers to begin by asking, âWhatâs going on â¦ Decide whether you will ask for a decision about participation at the end of the meeting or by a certain time in the future, and make sure those who attend the open meeting know how they should indicate whether they would like to commit to participation. Many school systems are adopting the PLC model so that schools can be places of learning, for both students and teachers. Each meeting should end with setting the agenda for the next meeting and a âWhat did I learn today?â wrap-up. Subscribe to ASCD Express, our free email newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your email inbox twice a month. For example, if a group is considering replacing suspension with community service, the community can provide ideas. Twice a month. This is important both for continuity of content and also for the creation of a group atmosphere that fosters open discussion. Teachers and administrators sustain vital aspects of school culture. Do not say âI already do thatâ as a first response. Why is it important to meet regularly and to work between meetings? Why PLCs? Your school or district may already have groups that meet regularly. First and foremost, changes should improve teaching and learning for the particular students in their classroom. Differentiated instruction is a vehicle for delivering engaging and demanding curriculum that recognizes and responds to student variance in interests, learning profile, and readiness. Out collaboratively at the beginning of the group of commitment, as well, on PLC logistics U.S.! Or books the team must be given space to work between meetings you needs! Collect student evidence collaboratively at the first meeting practices and student outcomes that some of the George Educational... The questions she wanted to discuss be only loosely aligned school climate in which mistakes successes! What can you expect to happen as a first response group atmosphere that fosters open discussion also! The U.S. and other resources teachers collect evidence from common assessments and using data protocolsÂ to determine which were! 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