The learning process is continually tied to the implementation of changes that enable more effective and efficient implementation of pedagogical strategies. One such tool of change, driven by diversity and inclusion, is the professional learning community (PLC). After reading the first pages of the book, I can define the term PLC as a particular formation of representatives of the teaching staff that encourages the exchange of opinions and ideas about how to improve the educational process. Roughly speaking, it is a group of initiative-taking teachers who discuss and share their ideas and professional vision. The goal of such a community is to find the most winning and beneficial strategies for change for students and the educational institution, promoting improvement by addressing the needs of stakeholders. Interestingly, PLCs need not be multidisciplinary; instead, the focus of a particular PLC can be on a subject or a specific problem facing a community of students. For example, teachers might create PLCs that address a math education problem or shape a school environment that minimizes bullying and threats to children’s health.
One of the key conclusions I drew after reading the proposed material is that, if properly managed, PLCs can have an extremely positive effect on the well-being of the educational environment and even improve academic performance. One aspect of this improvement is the direct involvement of teachers in the discussion of change. Thus, it is clear that teachers are the leaders of the educational process; as responsible adults, they are the most aware of in-class problems and barriers to improving achievement. It should be noted that teachers’ participation in PLC-type communities allows them to look at real, routine problems and find solutions to them. A second aspect is the practice of diversity, which undoubtedly leads to improved solutions. In particular, PLCs represent teachers from diverse backgrounds: they may have different teaching profiles, historical and cultural values — but they are all linked by a common professional focus. When another issue comes up at community meetings, teachers offer their opinions, often differing from one another. Finding compromise ideas that maximize the interests of different sides helps build teaching strategies that are best and most inclusive.
Another favorable aspect of PLCs is the opportunity for the teacher to feel meaningful. Teaching, especially for decades, can negatively affect a professional’s motivation and lead to professional burnout. It is no secret that the consequence of such burnout is also a decrease in interest in learning among students: if their teacher is not motivated to teach, then why should children be interested? However, PLC allows such teachers to be heard and to express their opinions, which often may not be realized in a classical school environment. It should be that the chance of increasing professional motivation increases, which ultimately has a positive impact on the educational process as well. It is worth saying that PLC also has a significant impact on improving academic performance among students. Thus, thanks to the changes discussed at faculty meetings, professionals fine-tune the pedagogical process and implement strategies that allow students to realize their potential. In this way, learning becomes a dynamic, ever-evolving process that results in the best possible experience for students. Seeing the motivation of their teacher, the innovation of the learning environment, and the desire of professionals to improve learning, students themselves become more engaged in learning and can demonstrate better performance.
The “Aha” moment I was able to highlight after reading this is the need to initially work with data before embarking on any change. I learned that educational reforms could be both positive and disruptive, so they must be carefully designed. The application of data collection and analysis models is critical to ensuring an evidence-based approach to change. It is this conclusion that I could use in my practice as a learning leader.
Venables, D. R. (2014). How teachers can turn data into action. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.