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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

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I learned that some of the activities I have been participating in actually has a name its referred to as professional leaning communities (PLC). As a teacher who taught in both regular and in special education I value the input of others. I wouldn't be the teacher trainer I am today without community. Over the years my favorite online communities have been teachers' TV where there are clips on deferential learning and examples of how to teach children with specific disabilities. On my job I have formed a support group with the head teachers of the special schools. We trade war stories, we learn from search other and we actively examine areas that needs changing and the methods that may work. I attended webinairs online on teaching students who are blind. At international conferences with other special education officers and teachers. We learn from each other, we share our frustrations and we keep in touch by email. One of my colleagues is taking a sabbatical to come and work with me in my department for a year. What I now know to be PLCs is a valuable practice, a habit for any teacher to cultivate because it keeps us sane and we realized we are not alone in the struggle to be teachers in a unfriendly system.

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jacqueline szczerba's picture

My school also started PLC's this school year. We meet once a week during our planning time and since we are losing a planning period, we get one duty free recess a week. A lot of our teachers aren't happy about our meetings, but I think it is because we aren't really following the philosphy of the PLC's. We don't get to come up with our own topics, we have a literacy coach who tells us what we are discussing. I think if we could discuss what we wanted, we would have more teachers on board. Don't get me wrong, I am getting important information from our meetings, but there is so much other stuff I would love to discuss with my team members.

Catherine Ness's picture

This comment was intended for Jacqueline Szczerba.

Lucy West, an education learning consultant, believes that the essence of a PLC is to learn something together that really matters. I think you are correct in thinking you would have more teachers involved if the topics were those they are most passionate about.

Dequetta Chapman's picture
Dequetta Chapman
I am a third grade from High Point, North Carolina

It was like that in the beginning. We didn't get to choose what we wanted to discuss, but as the year progressed we started focusing on assessment and what common strands we had and how we could reach all students.

mpoppell's picture
mpoppell
Fourth grade teacher

The school I work in began a PLC this year. The teachers on my fourth grade team met each week to write lesson plans together. It was difficult for me for most of the year, because I was the only self-contained classroom. Therefore, I had to miss either the math or reading planning each week. As the year progressed all the other teachers converted to self contained classes. We still planned together, but did not always share our resources. This year I plan to make more of an effort to bring more to the table to share.

Abby's picture
Abby
2nd Grade Teacher

We have been doing PLCs for a few years at our school. I am all on board for working together to best help student needs. I think it is important that our topics sometimes be decided for us, but sometimes as teachers we see needs that have to be met and that would be an ideal time to chose our own topics.

We often look at data and brainstorm ways to best help the kiddos with the most needs. Occasionally, our PLC time is amongst the special education teachers and we can discuss the current interventions in our rooms and grade levels with the sp. ed. team. I have found communicating with these professionals an intergal part of my classroom interventions.

Jennifer's picture
Jennifer
2nd Grade Teacher from Pueblo, Colorado. Working on Masters in Education

Our school has had Professional Learning Communities (P.L.C.) throughout the year, but have lacked the spirit and excitement to tackle the needed issues of our school culture. Throughout this first class at Walden University I have learned what is needed to make PLC's more valuable to my time and needs. The quality of time spent with colleagues is much more valuable than the quanity and required time usually expected. I will take these valuable tools back to my school and share these findings to benefit all, students, staff, and community.

Isa Antepli's picture
Isa Antepli
Principal at Nursery & Kindergarten School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

"We have been doing PLCs for a few years at our school." I wish I could start my writing like this. Unfortunately, we could not have such an influential community yet despite having many talented teachers at our school! I recently started doing my M.S. in Education at Walden University, and I am very glad and proud that I am a member of a wonderful online PLC like Walden. I do believe and hope that I will make the first step with the help of knowledge and inspiration that I get as a WU student, for founding a PLC in our school.

Mary's picture
Mary
Certified Elementary School Teacher; Before and After School Supervisor

I, unfortunately, do not have a classroom at the moment. However, I have observed teachers from different grade levels within the school I work. It seems that they are implementing PLC's, but I fear there is some negativity amongst the teachers. As a brand new teacher, I would like to gain information from experienced teachers, but when I hear the negativity in their voice I shy away. I do not want to go into a school that does not implement PLC's. It is important for everyone to work together and gather new information to provide a better education for every student. Isn't that why we all went into teaching? To provide a valuable education for every student. I cannot wait for the day when I finally have an opportunity in the classroom. This first semester I have spent at Walden University has helped me focus more on why I became a teacher.

Cynthia Higgins's picture

I do want the so called PLC's to work at the schools I have taught in but from my experience, they don't. Only the leadership team getts actual training and the rest of us just flounder. As a former member of a leadership team, went to montly training and not as a regular teacher I recognize what is happening with our department and grade level team meetings. Not once have the other teachers, who are not or never have been part of the leadeship team, have been given the research on what a PLC is and how they work. How can you fully participate when you don't know what one is. PLC really?

Tamsin Henry's picture
Tamsin Henry
Lecturer from South America

The importance of establishing PLC's
I am currently pursuing my MS in Education at Walden University . This week is the sixth week of our first course and we are exploring the whole concept of PLC's and their impact on improved teacher and student performance. I really embrace this idea because I strongly feel that as teachers we can't be successful if we keep everything bottled up inside us. We need to share,listen, inquire, and even reflect with colleagues so that we can make improvements and rethink our goals. I am really anxious to learn more about the role/functions of PLC's. I must admit wholeheartedly that I am learning so much from my colleagues at Walden who in my eyes seem to function as a PLC. Even though we have never met personally, we share opinions, facts etc. and indeed I highly appreciate their efforts. This relationship has allowed me to stay focused on achieving my mission statement.

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