5 Ways to Improve Your Professional Learning Community

Updated: Jun 22

A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is the “ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. PLCs operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators” (All Things PLC).


Here are 5 ways you can improve your professional learning community.

speech bubble; text reads: tips for teachers - 5 ways to improve your professional learning community

1) LIVE BY THE MANTRA: STUDY, SELECT, IMPLEMENT, ANALYZE AND ADJUST

  1. Make sure all members of your PLC know what step you are on and what it will take to keep moving forward. Try using a visual with a moving piece to keep track week to week.

  2. Use the four essential questions of PLCs to drive conversation:

What do we expect our students to learn?

How will we know they are learning?

How will we respond when they don’t learn?

How will we respond if they already know it?


2) DEFINE GROUP NORMS

  1. ROLES: Have a facilitator, timekeeper, snack provider, encourager, recorder, etc.

  2. COMMUNICATION: Have procedures for when people are late or absent.

  3. Be CONSISTENT: Stick to a specific time of the week and keep it sacred.

3) BE OPEN AND HONEST

  1. It is OK to have failures, so be open about your struggles.

  2. Start the meeting with celebrations or updates on progress.

  3. Get things off to a positive start. Support others, don’t jump to conclusions, listen, and reflect.

4) USE DATA TO DRIVE DECISIONS

  1. Use data to make decisions, but remember it is about the students.

  2. Should you move on in the text if only 70% of your class passes the test? Make decision rules with your PLC team.

5) GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

  1. PLCs are a time to redefine your practice, so try something new!

  2. Encourage out of the box thinking and creativity.

  3. Use High-Leverage practices to support instruction.