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EDU 6600 PLC’s

November 2, 2009

I see professional learning communities as an invaluable resource. The issue is that there are many schools/districts still stuck in the ‘old ways’ of professional development. The conversations this week had many different tracks, but one of the most interesting – to me – was the ‘new’ definitions of a principal and teachers. In the old view, the principal was the leader and the teachers were the followers. In the ‘new’ mindset, distributed leadership and professional learning communities are the ideal way for schools to function.

Principals, as the leaders of schools, not only need to be strong leaders, but need the ability to delegate and encourage collaboration and interaction. Most importantly, school leaders need to encourage their staff to act as a community with a single goal: to improve student learning.

While this may seem like a simple goal it’s not a simple thing to achieve. The one thing necessary for encouraging this kind of community in education is for teachers to have the desire to commit to the idea that things that are good for one are good for all. While it seems relatively simple, many people tend to forget that we are in education for the students. There are a lot of teachers stuck in an individual mindset that does not lend well to the kind of community that PLC’s demand.

I’ve personally encountered this in the past, and it’s disheartening to say the least. I’ve talked to teachers who have the mentality that they don’t need to participate in the school beyond their own classroom. I spoke with one teacher (in his last year at the time) who claimed he had never attended any pro-dev training in the 25 years he had been in that particular district; he claimed it was “unnecessary and a waste of time.”

Though this is an extreme example, I think the first major hurdle to implementing PLC’s is getting the staff to agree that community is the way to go in order to further the learning of all (staff and students alike).

One Comment leave one →
  1. alumpe permalink
    November 2, 2009 8:03 pm

    Wow, I don’t believe that you will be that teacher you described! And I hope my children never have him as a teacher.

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