Professional Learning Communities
PLCs as a method for teacher development in service of successful school improvement are recommended to run for at least two years. Once the structure is established there will be fixed meetings at least once a month, of a total duration of no less than 90 minutes and up to three hours if necessary. The establishment of PLCs depends on needs of development and interests of particular teachers in particular schools. It is required that every teacher creates a detailed, modest, individual action plan regarding his or her achievement. At the first meeting, each teacher is requested to make a decision about what he or she wants to change concerning teaching diversity and classroom management. It is important, that in the month following up they concentrate on making small improvements and try to apply the improvements into their daily practice in order to make an all over progress. Also teachers need to identify how they are going to save time for the new professional strategies.
In the project the comparable strategy is taken on for leadership development for the first time. The PLCs are built up of heads from one region and engages them to work on their leading skills. Their development aims specifically on setting up learning communities among their teachers.
Testimonials about Professional Learning Communities from Heads all over Europe
Norway - Morten Krogstad Strand
Sweden - Charlotta Stjärne
Sweden - Anna Samuelsson
Sweden - Jonas Gårdstam
Germany - Martin Müller Scholl
Cyprus - Chrystalla Lympouridou
Implementation of PLCs - Important things to have in mind
- Construct groups of 4-10 people.
- Be frequent and persistent. Have meetings at regular intervals (2-4 weeks).
- Meet in/visit each other’s schools.
- Focus on teacher’s/heads everyday needs.
- Ensure you have clear aims (remind the members of the aims).
- Go by a structure.
- Make sure members feel comfortable.
- Share solid principles – all members should have a clear idea of what a PLC is and should have the right attitude towards it. They have a common aim of improving the schools, education and student learning.
- Use bonding strategies.
- Build an atmosphere of trust.
- Work on your own topics.
- Remember that the group leader is a key-person.
- Have intervals which are too long between the meetings.
- Neglect the designation of a coordinator in the group.
- Have too large a distance between the members (geographical, professional).
- Be contra productive, using externally oriented reasons to say why the work won’t succeed.
- Start a PLC without having established the tenets which need to be shared by everyone in the group.
- Be in a hurry to achieve the proposed aims; the beginnings are slow – it takes time to get the members to open up and start functioning within the group.
- Allow the PLC session to be a “moaning” session.
- Let anything get in your way of holding those sessions.