Educators are collaborating within Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in schools and districts across the state of Texas. In doing so, they are putting in place practices aligned to the Vision. And, as a result of this “better together” mentality, students are reaping the benefits as their teachers focus on a shared commitment to learning for all.
Let’s zoom out and consider the professional learning community to which you, as an instructional leader, belong. How are you modeling this work? The three ideas of a Professional Learning Community are: a focus on learning, a collaborative culture, and a results orientation (DuFour et al., 2016).
As an instructional leader, how are you modeling this work?
Consider these as you reflect:
- A focus on learning. Consider your teachers as your learners. Reflect on how you design professional learning experiences, campus goals, and methods for providing feedback with a focus on learning. Craft enduring understandings (what the teachers will understand) and essential questions (what the teachers will keep considering) before you dive into designing the experiences/activities for your teachers. This will support your focus on the learning, rather than the activities you plan.
How might you continue to focus on learning?
- A collaborative culture. For the same reasons we support our educators to collaborate with one another, you too, should do so. In a team setting, the experience and expertise of others increases the potential impact of the work, many times over.
How might you seek opportunities for collaboration?
- A results orientation. Similar to our teachers’ lesson planning, we should also consider the results we seek from the professional learning experiences we design for educators. By focusing on outcomes, we set ourselves in a position to measure the impact. Begin with what we want our students [teachers] to learn, then consider how we will know if they learned it.
How might you focus on results?
As we consider teaching and learning, the practices we desire in our own educators should be applied in our work as instructional leaders.
DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., Many, T. W., & Mattos, M. (2016). Learning by doing: A handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work (3rd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
In the coming weeks, I will share more tools to support the work of teachers as members of professional learning communities and the potential outcome: high levels of learning for all students.
More information about supporting professional learning communities can be found here:
- Learning by Doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, Mattos
- Amplify Your Impact: Coaching collaborative teams in PLCs at work by Many, Maffoni, Sparks, and Thomas