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ERIC Number: EJ775771
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0094-0771
Professional Learning Communities: A Bandwagon, an Idea Worth Considering, or Our Best Hope for High Levels of Learning?
DuFour, Richard
Middle School Journal (J1), v39 n1 p4-8 Sep 2007
It should surprise no one that there are faculties throughout North America that refer to themselves as professional learning communities (PLCs) yet do none of the things that PLCs do. Conversely, there are faculties that could serve as model PLCs that may never reference the term. A school does not become a PLC by enrolling in a program, renaming existing practices, taking the PLC pledge, or learning the secret PLC handshake. A school becomes a professional learning community only when the educators within it align their practices with PLC concepts. Therefore, any valid assessment of the impact of PLC concepts on a school or the compatibility of those concepts with the middle school model would first need to determine if PLC practices were actually in place in the school. Only then would it be possible to determine the impact of those practices on the learning of both students and adults. The professional learning community concept does not offer a short cut to school improvement. It presents neither a program nor a recipe. It does provide a powerful, proven conceptual framework for transforming schools at all levels, but alas, even the grandest design eventually degenerates into hard work. A school staff must focus on learning rather than teaching, work collaboratively on matters related to learning, and hold itself accountable for the kind of results that fuel continual improvement. When educators do the hard work necessary to implement these principles, their collective ability to help all students learn inevitably will rise. If they fail to demonstrate the discipline to initiate and sustain this work, their school is unlikely to become more effective, even if those within the school claim to be a professional learning community. The rise or fall of the professional learning community concept in any school will depend not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school--the collective capacity, commitment,and persistence of the educators within it. (Contains 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North America; United States