Thursday, 28 August 2014

Professional Learning Communities as a Way of Improving Learning

You would had noted in my previous blog that I mentioned that we have formed a curriculum group to look at well being. This is not the only curriculum group that we have formed, there is also one for Maths, literacy and the Social Sciences (Science and Social Studies).

The idea for these groups is that they are formed to strengthen particular areas of the curriculum, with a focus on learning while at the same time, capitalising  on the strong sense of collaboration that we enjoy at Bradbury. Shared practice, knowledge and a professional interest in the area are also hallmarks of our curriculum groups. These are really what are called, in educational lingo,  'Professional Learning Communities' (PLCs)

I like the way the Ontario Ministry of Education defines  PLCs  as "a shared vision for running a school in which everyone can make a contribution, and staff are encouraged to collectively undertake activities and reflection in order to constantly improve their students’ performance".

As you may know, the concept of a shared vision is important to my own personal philosophy of leadership as well as to the way leadership operates here at Bradbury. One author I have really enjoyed over a period of years is Peter Senge. In his book 'The Fifth Discipline', he states: “The practice of shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared ‘pictures of the future’ that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance. In mastering this discipline, leaders learn the counter-productiveness of trying to dictate a vision, no matter how heartfelt” (1990, p. 9)

So true! And unearthing 'pictures of the future' for our students is a challenging task! So often, we are bogged down by the day to day tasks of running a school or a classroom. To have a picture of where we are going, to have aspirational goals for our students and remembering that we are teaching our students for their future, not our past, is crucial to an effective school.

So our PLCs here at Bradbury aim to move practice forward in each area by giving staff dedicated time to reflect, discuss and move forward their area, all within a collaborative, sharing culture.
Each PLC is scheduled to present to parents over the year, so do keep an eye out for these meetings. They are  intended to inform and have you be a part of our shared vision for each curriculum area as well.

  • Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday.

1 comment:

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