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Introduction to “Evaluating Professional Learning Communities”
Evaluate Professional Learning Communities (PLC)
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Introduction to “Evaluating Professional Learning Communities”

Introduction to “Evaluating Professional Learning Communities”

Author: Katie Hou

This lesson introduces the core learning objectives relative to Evaluate Professional Learning Communities"



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Introduction to "Evaluating Professional Learning Communities"

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Hello, and thank you for joining me for an introduction to evaluating professional learning communities. By the end of today's tutorial, we will be able to answer the following questions. What are the learning objectives for this unit, how are these learning objectives connected, and why do these learning objectives matter?

So in this unit, we're doing a lot of really interesting things with looking at professional learning communities. So we're going to analyze professional learning communities and the impact that they can have on student achievement and performance. We're also going to analyze theories related to professional learning communities. And then we're going to reflect on professional learning communities and how they can affect teachers in a positive way.

So looking at each one of these objectives in depth, let's start with analyzing professional learning communities and their impact on student performance and achievement. When you have a professional learning community, you create a community of teachers who are invested in student learning. And in return, you have student engagement and performance increase. This just means students are going to be more engaged in their learning, and they're going to be giving the results that the teachers want to see.

This is for a couple of different reasons, and we'll talk more in depth about these reasons in the actual tutorials. But for instance, part of professional learning communities is looking at the types of assessments that we're asking our students to perform. Not just looking at the type of assessments, but also what they're assessing. So when we can align our assessments up with what students are actually doing in the classroom, their performance is going to increase.

There have been numerous studies that reinforce this idea that student engagement and performance increases when teachers participate in a professional learning community. And as I said before, all teachers are committed. So when a teacher is really committed to his or her classroom and school as a whole, student engagement is going to increase as is the performance.

Our second objective of this unit is that we're going to analyze theories related to professional learning communities. Specifically, we're going to look at social learning theory and adult learning theory, and how these are applied to professional learning communities. These all make a lot of sense because professional learning communities are collaborative. So it's social learning. So the theories that go behind social learning matter a lot having a successful professional learning community, because you want to implement these theories.

The same is true of adult learning theory. Obviously, all of the members of a professional learning community are the adult teachers or staff or faculty in the building. So what does adult learning theory say works best? Well, one of the things is meaningful and relevant material, or allowing the learners to draw their own conclusions. So these are things that your professional learning communities need to do.

We're also going to reflect on professional learning communities and the effect that they have on teachers. One positive effect is that it allows for collaboration. I don't know about you, but in the past, I've taught in schools where teachers exist in little bubbles. It's almost like survival mode. Nobody shares anything. Nobody collaborates.

But a professional learning community forces this collaboration. It forces it in sessions where this teacher sit and calibrate grading. And we'll talk more about that in the future. It forces collaboration when teachers do walk-throughs and discuss what they saw in the building. And also is just a great opportunity for teachers to swap ideas.

It also gives teachers ownership not just of their classrooms, but of the building as a whole. Especially when we set PDSA or SMART goals for the building as a whole, the teachers are going to be invested in making sure that these happen. And lastly, it provides teachers with leadership opportunities. We're going to talk about shared or distributed leadership in this unit. And you'll see through that the leadership opportunities abound when we have PLCs in the schools.

So why do these matter? Well, they matter because collaboration is something we do in our professional lives. And originally PLCs we're in the business world before they moved into the education world. So collaboration is something you'll do in any job you ever have.

It also allows for consistency. And I can't stress that enough. When teacher and student performance is tied so much to standardized test skills, so we need to be consistent and our grading. Consistent, not only with teachers in our building but also with these standardized tests like the EOC or the ACT or even the AP exam.

It also gives teachers ownership. We talked a little bit about this already. When we have a PDSA goal or a SMART goal and the teacher feels invested in the school, they're going to work hard to make sure we meet that school-wide or district-wide goal. And again, leadership opportunities. This goes back to the shared or distributed leadership, but there are many leadership opportunities when you have PLCs in your schools such as a leadership team or participating in walk-through or observing your other teachers.

And then let's talk about how these are connected. When student achievement goes, up teacher commitment improves. And when teacher commitment improves, student achievement goes up. Those connections are pretty straightforward. But it also just connects to having high teacher efficacy. And it connects to teachers wanting to be at their jobs.

Teaching has an extremely high turnover rate. Statistics showed that teachers burn out early in their careers. So when we have a PLC and we empower our teachers, they're going to last in the buildings longer. This is important because we want our students to have veteran teachers. There are other studies that-- But since we have ineffective teachers so many years in a row actually lose years of their education.

This is a problem we're seeing in a lot of poorer school districts, high teacher turnover. So when you have a high teacher turnover, that first year of your new teacher is going to be rocky, and student achievement is going to be affected as is lifelong learning of those student. If we can give our teachers opportunities to be leaders in the school and give them an opportunity to be empowered, they're going to perform better, they're going to stay around longer. And in the long run, our future generations are going to benefit.

So today, we talked about what the learning objectives are for this unit and how these learning objectives are connected, as well as why they matter. I hope that you are excited to move through this unit with me. I'll be seeing you soon.

Notes on “Introduction to Evaluating Professional Learning Communities”


(00:00-00:17) Introduction

(00:18-00:38) Learning Objectives Overview

(00:39-01:43) Analyze PLCs and Students

(01:44-02:30)Analyze Theories Related to PLCs

(02:31-03:27) Reflect on PLCs and Teachers

(03:28-04:26) Real-World Connections

(04:27-05:28) Concept Connections

(05:29-05:41) Conclusion