Starting a PLC

Before you start a PLC, think about:

Here are some considerations you should make if you are considering starting a PLC

Purpose

Clarity precedes competence! Establish what your PLC will be focusing on. Is it a PLC for Grade 5 teachers? All subjects in Grade 5? Science alone? Maybe your PLC will not focus on a subject, but on an issue – perhaps, boys education or assessment or psycho-social support.

The more specifically the purpose of a PLC is defined, the more effective it is likely to be. Clearly a community of professionals with no purpose and no shared characteristics – except that they are all teachers – has very little shared purpose and is hardly a PLC.

Structure

PLCs don’t run themselves! You must put systems in place for the management and growth of your PLC. This means thinking about elements like:

  • Routines: How often will you meet? Where? To do what?
  • Communication: How will members stay in touch between meetings?
  • Management: How will you manage PLC activities? Will you have an Executive? What role do they play? How are they selected?

Click here for more information about the structure of your PLC

Accountability

Accountability helps to converts a gathering of teachers into a learning community! Accountability refers to those measures that the PLC implements to ensure members are accounted for, their participation is tracked and their engagement is recorded. Accountability measures should ensure that you are able to to tell how many hours of PD each member has experienced as this is needed for appraisal and certification purposes. You should also create procedures for new members to join a PLC and develop standards for teachers to retain their membership in the community.

Knowledge Creation

PLCS are more than just a clearing house for sharing resources. Your PLC creates knowledge when it exposes teachers to experiences that cause them to learn new skills or sharpen existing ones. Knowledge creation is not the same as sharing resources (such as lesson plans), a common feature of PLCs. In developing your PLC, think about activities that allow participants to expand their competences – for example, a session to plan a lesson together may do more to empower teachers than merely sharing a lesson plan with a teacher.

Starting Your PLC

Here are some steps you can follow if you are about to start a PLC