Thursday, May 30, 2013

PLC Considerations: Moving Forward

What practice and protocol supports PLCs with strength?

I engaged in that conversation with a professional group recently, and as I think ahead to our professional learning communities for the end of this year and next, I don't want to forget these questions and considerations.  I also welcome additional thoughts to broaden and deepen thought in this regard?

The professional learning community, known as the PLC, in my opinion, has been a worthwhile addition to school life.  The PLC provides opportunity for child-centered, learning discussions that have the potential to develop our craft with care and effect.

The PLC meets the goal of bringing diverse voices together regularly to discuss school issues, try out  new ideas, and revise practice to better meet students' needs.  The PLC also can serve as a point of disagreement and struggle as professionals work to meld voices, define paths, and share knowledge.

Hence, what considerations do we bring forward in an effort to shore up our PLC efforts, and support this work with a sturdier foundation.

First, defining roles gives a structure to the PLC.  Currently the roles we've defined are facilitator, dialogue monitor, time keeper, and recorder.  It is thought that greater definition of those roles might strengthen our work and understanding. The idea was also posed to vary roles by months, and assign a role schedule at the start of the year so it's not a weekly consideration.

Next, we discussed our differing underlying perceptions and ideas when it comes to expectations, preparedness, conversation, discussion, urgency, reasonableness, issue size, positivity, and critique.

Also, there's the area of decision and agenda process--what's the best process to set reasonable agendas and make decisions?  Do we employ backwards design, time lines, lead time, and online correspondance and communication in this regard?

What about etiquette?  With every new structure, the issue of etiquette comes up?  What is considered polite, and what is not?  Also some noted the action of presence--what is the expectation for that at our meetings?

By working together with the leadership of a talented guide we identified strengths and challenges and were able to begin thinking with greater depth about our PLC, and how to grow this effort with stronger effect.  I look forward to the discussions that follow, and a fresh start next fall as we embark on the year with a new team and new wisdom related to the possibility and promise of PLCs.