You would never send your child to a doctor knowing they had never consulted another doctor, right? So why would you send your child to a teacher who doesn’t consult other teachers? The idea behind professional Learning Communities is to help teachers collaborate with each other in order teach students more effectively. Here is how you can make the most out of a professional Learning Community.
- Keep the number of teachers to a minimum
The size of the group should not be too big, but it should not be too small either! To solve problems you need multiple perspectives, so having five or more is going to encourage a rich stew of perspectives. If it is too large, then it becomes difficult for everyone in the group to really get involved.
2. Have a Facilitator to Keep Things on Track
The facilitator provides structure to the meeting and helps monitor productivity. In these kinds of teacher groups with heaps of ideas and perspectives, it is best to give someone the job of keeping the group on track.
3. Meet Regularly
Meetings once a fortnight for an hour and a half with the same members is ideal and a more realistic goal for the group to meet
- Break into subgroups if there are too many people
If you have a group of 12 or 15, you should start breaking into subgroups. In smaller groups can teachers discuss the same topic or problem and come back together and share what they produced. Teachers will recognise this method as something they ask their own students to do in class, so they will trust the process!
It’s simple, professional Learning Communities are all about continuously improving your knowledge of effective teaching. It is about sharing ideas and finding new ways to solve problems and communicating with other professionals in your industry. There is no reason not to start one, what are you waiting for?
This article was inspired by episode #41 of The Parent-Teacher Project entitled Teachers Harnessing The Power Of Collaboration with David Allen and Nathan Frazer.
Listen to the entire episode below.
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