The work of John Hattie, Michael Fullan, and Rick Dufour all point to the fact that PLCs are one of the most effective ways to improve teaching and learning. Each of these educational researchers has identified similar areas of focus that apply to working in PLCs.
Dufour ("What is a Professional Learning Community?" http://www.allthingsplc.info)
- What is it we expect our students to learn?
- How will we know when they have learned it?
- How will we respond when some students do not learn it?
- How will we respond when some students already know it?
Hattie (Visible Learning for Teachers, p. 70):
- What is it we want students to know and be able to do?
- How will they demonstrate that they have acquired the essential knowledge and skills? Have we agreed on the criteria that we will use in judging the quality of student work, and can we apply the criteria consistently?
- How will we intervene for students who struggle and enrich the learning for students who are proficient?
- How can we use the evidence of student learning to improve our individual and collective professional practice?
Fullan – (Coherence, p. 126):
- Internal accountability is based on the notion that individuals and the group in which they work can transparently hold themselves responsible for their performance.
- Successful schools build a collaborative culture that combines individual responsibility, collective expectations, and corrective action.
- Internal accountability must precede external accountability if lasting improvement in student achievement is the goal.
Whether you were in a math group analyzing student work from a new math program, or a group working on identifying proficiencies in your content area, you were working toward the principles mentioned above. Your meeting minutes and exit ticket responses reflected the fact that you were learning from your colleagues and improving outcomes for your students.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who led PLCs this year – facilitating meetings, creating agendas, and sending out reminder emails to your group. We would not be able to do this work without you!
And a big thank-you to all of you who actively participated in improving your own practice through PLCs. Your dedication and commitment to lifelong learning is noticed and appreciated!