Have you ever wondered what makes a Professional Learning Community (PLC) effective or ineffective? Can you confidently say that the time you spend collaborating is strategic, effective, and designed to purposely impact student achievement? Have you noticed any new challenges with facilitating PLCs in the current educational environment? Let’s examine your current practices related to PLCs and consider what you might do differently as you navigate changes in education.
What Is a PLC in Education?
While the term Professional Learning Community (PLC) has been around for over 70 years, the term and more explicit research around the subject began to develop in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Edglossary defines a Professional Learning Community as a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and students’ academic performance. At its core, the shared goal of every PLC is student achievement.
We often think of PLCs in education as groups of teachers, but a PLC can also be any group of stakeholders that come together with the shared goal of improving student outcomes. This can range from the school leadership team to the support staff. That’s right. Building custodians, cafeteria workers, and security personnel can form a PLC and examine how their work impacts the culture and climate of the school and overall student performance. In fact, most effective schools ensure that all personnel understand how their role specifically contributes to the shared goal of student achievement.
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