Thursday, April 23, 2009

PLCs: more on what they take

Professional learning communities are a pivotal concept for changing schools in ways that raise student performance. Having introduced the idea earlier (here), I want to add another thought from Richard DuFour, one of the leading PLC advocates:
When educators do the hard work necessary to implement these principles, their collective ability to help all students learn will rise... The rise or fall of the professional learning community depends not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school--the commitment and persistence of the educators within it.
Reading DuFour and talking to educators, I think that teachers' commitment and persistence are an outcome, as well as an input, in the PLC process. The collaborative approach helps teachers sustain the high energy needed to keep finding and trying new approaches to move every student forward. Where one person working alone could run out of steam, the team approach fuels lasting effort.

Sources: The quotes are from From On Common Ground, edited by DuFour, Eaker, & DuFour, pages 32-40 (Solution Tree, 2005), by way of KASC's Insights journal.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Susan. We have a large number of teams that have reached a level where they are highly proficient. School leaders need to recognize that you just can't put people into teams and point in the right direction and assume all will be well. Many teams won't find the desired gains without support. This support can be in the form of adequate data collection systems and appropriate professional development. We created a very systemic model for developing our teams. Instead of huge sit and get professional development sessions, we advocate developing teams and their leaders along a continuum of growth. When we changed our mindset, we began to experience the "outcome" results that mentioned by Susan.


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