PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES AT SCHOOL
What they are, why they are important and how to create them
The term professional learning community has become quite commonplace
in education circles. The term describes a collegial group who are united in
their commitment to an outcome. In the case of education, the commitment would
be to student learning. The community engages in a variety of activities including
sharing a vision, working and learning collaboratively, visiting and observing
other classrooms, and participating in shared decision making. The benefits
of professional learning community to educators and students include reduced
isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic
gains for students. Shirley Hord of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
says, that as an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community
is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school
change and improvement.1
This site provides an introduction to professional learning communities including
research related to best practices of professional learning communities along
with sample protocols for discussions.
1. Hord, S. M. (1997). Professional learning communities: What are they and why are they important? [Online]. Available: http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues61.html .
- Attribute 1: Supportive and Shared Leadership.
- Attribute 2: Collective Creativity.
- Attribute 3: Shared Values and Vision .
- Attribute 4: Supportive Conditions.
- Attribute 5: Shared Personal Practice.
- Step 1: Determine School and Staff Readiness.
- Step 2: Consider the Use of an External Change Facilitator.
- Step 3: Identify Barriers.
- Step 4: Begin With the Learning.
- Step 5: Create a Theory of Change.