When teachers have the opportunity to collaborate, they share learning practices and experiences, support one another in trying new strategies and teaching moves, partner in responding to student and classroom data, and work together to develop curriculum and implement new school initiatives. No matter whether their collaboration is formalized into a Professional Learning Community (PLC) around one specific area of growth or need, or if their collaboration is less formal, when teachers effectively work collaboratively, they receive continuous job-embedded learning and professional development from their colleagues that will lead to better results for their students, for their team, and for their school; as a result, their collective ability to help all students learn will increase.
What We Believe:
We believe that creating a culture of collaboration is a key practice in school success, and that there are actionable strategies and practices instructional leaders can use to successfully build and maintain a sustainable, collaborative community of educators.
We believe that collaborative professional development is most effective when teams of teachers meet regularly with clear and specific agendas to establish transparent, attainable goals around student achievement, and support one another in improving their classroom practice to ensure students meet those goals.
We believe that collaborative professional learning communities must regularly collect, review, and reflect on student-data in order to make informed decisions about how best to support students to achieve academic success.
We believe that professional learning needs to evolve to mirror the personalization, flexibility, and choice that we want for student learning. A key aspect of this shift is reimagining the times and spaces we can do professional learning, incorporating more asynchronous and virtual learning opportunities for teachers and leaders.
BetterLesson Blog Posts:
Belknap, Cheryl. How to Develop a Collaborative Professional Learning Structure in your School. November 6, 2018.
Mason, Julie. Design Studio Stories: Manassas City Public Schools. July 17, 2018.
Bertrand, Romain. Three Simple Steps to Make Your PD More Actionable. May 2, 2019.
Frontline Research. ESSA Report on Effective Professional Learning. 2021.
All Things PLC. "All Things PLC, All in One Place." 2018.
Killion, Joellen. "High-quality collaboration benefits teachers and students." The Learning Professional 36:5. 2015.
Duncombe, Rebecca and Armour, Kathleen M. "Collaborative Professional Learning: From Theory to Practice." Journal of In-Service Education 30:1. 2004.
Hirsh, Stephanie and Hord, Shirley M. "Leader and Learner." Principal Leadership. 2008.
Resources for Learning. "The State of Teacher Professional Learning: Results from a Nationwide Survey." National Education Association. 2016.