When are professional learning communities most effective?
- Learning Sciences International studied professional learning communities, finding clear-cut best practices by interviewing teachers about what their PLCs discussed most often and how that affected their morale.
- According to eSchool News, PLCs that focus on improving and deepening student learning had the greatest positive effect on teacher morale, while PLCs that discuss student behavior, building issues and organizational activities are more likely to result in low teacher morale.
- The report recommends administrators equip teachers with the tools and supports they need to focus on student learning, which in turn will keep their morale up and make them more effective in their roles.
Professional learning communities give teachers an opportunity to collaborate. Traditionally, there has been little time for collaboration as teachers spend their entire work days in their own classroom bubbles. PLCs open up dialog among teachers focused on the same grade levels or subject areas, allowing educators to trade effective strategies and better serve their students.
Gamble Rogers Middle School in northeastern Florida is in year five of using PLCs and continues to see the benefits of sharing teachers’ strengths. Administrator support has been critical. Days that used to be spent in staff meetings are now reserved for PLCs. Carving out time for this type of collaboration takes commitment, but schools and districts across the country have proof of the strategy’s effectiveness.
- eSchool News Are you using your school’s PLC to its fullest?
- Education Dive Professional learning communities bring benefits for teachers, students
- Education Dive 3 things connected educators do differently
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