These resources provide information about the background, research, and resources available for Professional Learning Communities in education.
"Educators committed to working collaboratively in ongoing processes of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators."Learning by Doing (2006)
It can become complicated when educators seek to operationalize PLC definitions at the school level. A PLC is more than simply a collection of teachers working together or a social network of educators who share stories, materials, and advice (Coburn & Russell, 2008; Protheroe, 2008). In fact, the PLC concept often is misused to describe committees, grade-level teams, and/or weekly planning meetings in which the participants undertake data-based decision making (DuFour, 2004; Jessie, 2007).
The term professional learning community (PLC) first emerged among researchers as early as the 1960s when they offered the concept as an alternative to the isolation endemic to the teaching profession in the United States. The research began to become more explicit in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
With encouragement about such school-based professional structures, and with the need for increased understanding of these structures, this literature review was initiated. The review seeks (1) to define and describe what the literature is calling the professional learning community; (2) to describe what happens when a school staff studies, works, plans, and takes action collectively in behalf of increased learning for students; and (3) to reveal what is known about how to create such communities of professionals in schools. — Shirley M. Hord, 1997
In education circles, the term learning community has become commonplace. It is being used to mean any number of things, such as extending classroom practice into the community; bringing community personnel into the school to enhance the curriculum and learning tasks for students; or engaging students, teachers, and administrators simultaneously in learning - to suggest just a few.
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