The “Why?” Behind Professional Learning Communities

The “Why?” Behind Professional Learning Communities

“The three words explain the concept: Professionals coming together in a group—a community—to learn.” -Shirley Hord

A professional learning community, or PLC, is a term describing any group of educators that meets regularly to improve their teaching skills and their students’ academic achievement. Teachers come together to discuss and reflect on lesson plans, instructional practices, and assessments. School administrators and leaders address questions and strategies.

There are many varieties of PLCs. You might find one department from a school, a team of teachers teaching the same grade, or a statewide department. Regardless of the group’s makeup, the general goal of PLCs remains the same: teach better so students can learn better.

Teachers teach better.

PLCs are a place in which teachers can work together to improve their practices. They promote collaboration in a profession that tends to leave teachers alone in their classrooms. Focusing on student learning, teachers can ask crucial questions and come up with solutions. They can rely on each other and their leaders for support and advice.

(In a text box) [Using classroom video, teachers can record their best practices. They can then share with their PLC and receive feedback from fellow teachers and leaders. Learn more about the benefits of classroom video and Audio Enhancement’s VIEWpath system here.]

Students learn better.

The common mission of all educators is to ensure that their students learn. In professional learning communities, teachers and administrators work toward this important goal. They ask what they want their students to learn and how they will learn it. They discuss how the teachers will know their students have mastered concepts and what to do when learning difficulties arise. Teachers working together in this way can be more effective as a whole.

Educators strive every day to strengthen teaching practices in order to improve student learning. Professional learning communities provide opportunities for educators to collaborate and support each other in accomplishing that goal.

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