A professional learning community or PLC is an opportunity for a group of colleagues within a specific field to participate in collaborative learning. Typically PLCs are used in schools as a way to organize teachers, students and/or community personnel into specific working groups where they can help enhance curriculum, share visions, contribute and encourage each other with the ultimate purpose of improving education. Professional learning communities are the joining of Professionalism and Community. It brings the specialized knowledge and focus of professionalism to the caring, responsibility and support within a group or a community.
Examples of Professional Learning Communities include a
group of teachers engaging one another for the purpose of creating a more consistent
curriculum, a group of computer instructors collaborating and discussing which
software applications to purchase and a team of administrators coming together
to support one another with regard to implementing state standards. However, it
is important to note that an effective PLC is not limited to grade level or
school hierarchy. An effective PLC welcomes a feedback loop between school
board officials, system and building administrators, the teaching staff,
facilitators, community members, students and other school personal. In other
words, PLCs are best exemplified as an attitude of shared leadership and team
effort, of trust and cooperation, of open and honest discourse - and debate if and when necessary. A PLC is a bottom up approach rather than a trickle down system in which administrators rule with perceived omniscience.