What Are Professional Learning Communities?
In the mid eighties, Rosenholtz (1989) linked the notion of teachers' workplace
factors with the discussion of teaching quality, maintaining that teachers who
felt supported in their own ongoing learning and classroom practice were more
committed and effective than those who did not receive such confirmation. Support
by means of teacher networks, cooperation among colleagues, and expanded professional
roles increased teacher efficacy in meeting students' needs. Further, Rosenholtz
found that teachers with a high sense of their own efficacy were more likely
to adopt new classroom behaviors and also more likely to stay in the profession.1
McLaughlin and Talbert (1993) confirmed Rosenholtz's findings, suggesting
that when teachers had opportunities for collaborative inquiry and the learning
related to it, they were able to develop and share a body of wisdom gleaned
from their experience.2 Adding to the discussion, Darling-Hammond (1996) cited
shared decision making as a factor in curriculum reform and the transformation
of teaching roles in some schools. In such schools, structured time was provided
for teachers to work together in planning instruction, observing each other's
classrooms, and sharing feedback.3 These are the very attributes that characterize
professional learning communities – collaborative inquiry, shared decision making,
and joint planning of instruction.
The literature on professional learning communities repeatedly gives attention
to five attributes of such organizational arrangements: supportive
and shared leadership, collective creativity, shared values and vision, supportive
conditions, and shared personal practice.
- 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.