Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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New Professional Learning Communities Standards
By Barbara Bray    November 11, 2005 -- 02:03 PM

My eCoach team review literature and research on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). We needed standards for PLCs to help the eCoaches as they develop their own learning communities. We have copyrighted these and plan to include these in our standards database. However, before we include these in our database, we want to make sure we are going in the right direction. Please give us feedback or suggestions. Thanks!

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Standards (2005)

I. Supportive Environment – The PLC provides an environment that supports all learners within the community.

Ia. Organizes community members in a team or group that has a shared purpose.
Ib. Provides members with the resources and tools that support learning and collaboration.
Ic. Requires a capable facilitator who guides continuous improvement.
Id. Offers a risk-free environment where all members can be learners and leaders.
Ie  Makes available coaching and collaborative tools for ongoing support, feedback, suggestions and reflection. 
If. Recognizes the unique contributions that each team member offers.

II. Organizational Culture. The PLC is an instrument of change that provides opportunities for ongoing research, reform and improvement.

IIa  Defines change and reform efforts for the PLC and its members.
IIb. Prepares members to understand and appreciate all PLC members intended goals.
IIc. Values and supports members with their change and reform efforts.
IId. Uses multiple sources of information, research, and assessment to guide improvement and to demonstrate its impact.
IIe. Builds a community of trust and mutual respect.
IIf. Aligns with reform initiatives and teaching and learning standards.
IIg. Builds a team with a clear and unique identity.

III. Shared Leadership and Vision. PLC members develop a shared vision of teaching and learning grounded in research and their own practical experience.

IIIa. Invites input from all members to develop a shared vision and goals.
IIIb. Encourages shared leadership among all members.
IIIc. Provides effective facilitation techniques that encourage active participation.
IIId. Develops a consensus for a shared vision with goals and objectives.
IIIe. Guides an ongoing visioning process based on reflection so the community achieves shared goals.

IV. Individual Learning Goals. Each member of the PLC is able to weave together a deeper teaching and learning experience to meet their individual learning goals.

IVa. Assesses individual learning goals by applying research and data to determine priorities, guide and monitor process, and sustain continuous improvement.
IVb. Applies background knowledge on learning and change.
IVc. Chooses from a variety of learning opportunities to meet learning goals.
IVd. Uses inquiry-based action research to generate new knowledge.
IVe. Creates inquiry-based activities that align to standards.
IVf.  Compiles evidence and artifacts of learning experiences.
IVg. Accepts responsibility for reaching their individual learning goals.

V. Collective Responsibility and Accountability. PLC members are active, contributing members to the community.

Va. Takes responsibility for the growth and sustainability of the community.
Vb. Participates actively through continuous interaction of members in thoughtful, purposeful communication.
Vc. Shares, examines, and reflects on collective practice to increase effectiveness of the PLC.
Vd. Contributes relevant resources and supportive feedback for their own benefit and the benefit of the members in the community.
Ve. Works collaboratively to reach the shared vision and goals.

Copyright © My eCoach®, division of Computer Strategies, LLC 2005

Categories: "Community" "Standards"

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Comments: Add New Comments
By small Gayle Cantrell      December 5, 2005 -- 05:05 PM

This looks great!  I would never have thought of aligning standards to challenge myself, but how logical.  I am not quite understanding IVe.  Could you detail the standards you're intending?  Could be my interpretation is a little off. 



Reply to Gayle Cantrell

By small Barbara Bray      January 8, 2006 -- 06:20 PM

When looking at the National Staff Development Council standards, they don’t provide us with guidance in building a professional learning community. I have looked all over and could not find any that we can align to. We are creating a workshop on building PLCs and it became apparent really fast that there was no direction out there. We are planning on putting these in our standards database and want to align our course to them.  Sure hope others agree that these work. We have shared these with other groups, have copyrighted them and encourage their use as long as whoever uses them cites them.

I. Supportive Environment: this is where anyone in the community gets the support they need from their team or others in the community

II. Organizational Culture: Being in this community allows you to grow personally and professionally. The community provides the resources and research for you to learn and become the best you can become.

III. Shared Leadership: Just like the geese who work as a team and share leadership as they fly, we found that a healthy team works best if everyone shares the role as leader. This is where the coaching and mentoring program could work if done right. More later on this.

IV. Individual Learning Goals: Every community is made up of individuals who have their own goals. If the community provides the resources and people to help each individual meet their goals, then the community wins.

V. Collective Responsibility and Accountability: Any community will grow if each member takes responsibility for its growth. This is where eCoaches encourage their team to participate but the each member needs to take responsibility for their own participation.

IVe may not fit for every PLC but we find that if members of the community created inquiry-based activities to share with other members it would encourage discussion. Any other ideas from anyone?

Reply to Barbara Bray

By small Sheri Barker      August 4, 2006 -- 09:00 AM
Dear Barbara, If our team were to create standards for a PLC, they would reflect the same content and tone of the ones the eCoach team has created. Maybe we will have some of our team members consider how to create a rubric that assists a PLC in determining how close they are to meeting these standards. This would also be the foundation for an evaluation of a team and the work they do together. Thank you for this thoughtful tool. Sheri :-)

Reply to Sheri Barker


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