The most logical and effective way to begin developing a professional learning community is to bring the professionals together to learn. School development and improvement are directly dependent upon teacher development and improvement. Without this critical link, little will change toward bringing quality learning experiences to the classroom. School administrators and staffs that successfully transform themselves into learning organizations promote the professionalization of teachers and offer improved educational opportunities for students as well.
One powerful strategy is to identify a “problem” and then bring the staff together at regular intervals to learn together how to deal with the problem or goal and engage in dialogue about that learning. Professional development can not be limited to a two-and-a-half-hour workshop conducted by an expert contracted with by the district or the school. In professional learning communities, professional development is a regular, if not daily, experience. The educators within a school, teachers and administrators alike, are responsible for their ongoing professional development. It is no longer someone else’s responsibility to provide staff development to schools. To become a professional learning community, school staff must begin by engaging in learning together.4