As a leader, how do you build collaborative professional learning communities?
Being a team is not the same things as forming a team. If I have learned anything about implementing authentic PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) it is that the hard work of looking at student and teacher work, designing quality common formative assessments, and reviewing and responding to to data cannot be done well without first building a strong collaborative team. There is no bypassing this. Time spent team building, learning about each other's styles and preferences in working as part of a team, norm setting, and constructing community knowledge is never time spent in vain. Quite the contrary; failure to do these things promotes dysfunctional, ineffective PLCs with members who, at best, go through the motions of engaging in the requisite Essential Tasks with little or no impact on student learning. With no real gains observed, inauthentic PLCs soon revert back to the old ways of the comfortable, if ineffective, status quo.
Once a solid, collaborative foundation is established, PLCs are ready to do the heavy lifting of looking at student and teacher work, designing quality common formative assessments, and reviewing and responding to data, and they stand a good chance of doing them with fidelity so that student learning can actually improve. Well-established teams can tackle any obstacle that may arise as they pursue....
From: The Practice of Authentic PLCs by Daniel R. Venables
Published by: Corwin Press