PLCs push problem solving

I just finished participating in my first #OHedchat on the topic of PLC’s. For some time I have been concerned with the direction PLC’s are taking in my building wondering if the tact being taken is the right one. Having read the thoughts of others in the chat it’s pretty clear the way we are headed is the wrong one.

I am not an expert on Professional Learning Communities but firmly believe that they exist for educators to come together to learn about topics important to us and solve building problems.  If teachers come together for a meeting placed on a calendar then it is just that, a meeting and meetings do not share the same characteristic function as does a PLC.  PLC’s are meant to allow free exploration of education topics key to the practice and transformation of teachers. PLC’s allow choice as the method by which to learn vs. being told what to learn.

PLC’s embody Learnership.  Learnership is the idea that educators at any level combine leadership, pedagogy and technology in a way that leads to deeper learning by the student and teacher.  A PLC is all teachers but they must be willing to participate in the learning process showing each other how to lead learning and be a learner in the process.  If a PLC were a meeting then there is one person who sets the agenda and directs the outcome,  however in Learnership everyone has the opportunity to lead and learn as a learner.

PLC’s are meant to extend and deepen teacher learning on a variety of topics that are not tied to a meeting.  Where I work this is the case and there is little learning going on so teachers are left with an inaccurate idea of a true PLC.

How do PLC’s run in your school or district?


2 thoughts on “PLCs push problem solving

  1. Good points raised. The idea of learnership is useful and points to the changing role of both students and teachers in the traditional sense. It is probably more of a continuum, though. There are the, “Let’s move in this direction” people in a meeting on the leader end and the, “just tell me what you want me to do” on the other (maybe Leadersheep is a better term 😉

    Another issue that changes the flavour of online vs. local PLCs is the voluntary nature. In the building we know there are different levels of engagement with the profession. Some of us live and breathe teaching while others’ primary interests lay elsewhere. Directing some people to 24/7 connectedness to a professional learning community is akin to extending the work day for them.

    I don’t know what the solution is, if there even is one, but defining the problem is a good start to identifying approach!

    • Learnership is meant to be flexible as we, as teachers AND as learners, should be in a state of evolution. I used “should be” in the last sentence because some (many) are not developing as a learning professional. Because learnership is flexible it allows teachers to be leader as learner, learner as leader all through vetted teaching practices using technology. Perhaps it solves the issue of what teachers should be. Am I leader or learner or just a teacher? We are all three and should technology to inform our continual transformation.

      You bring up a good point that some view extra outside of the building as extending the work day. Never thought of that.

      I think the problem is that teachers are confused as to who they should be. It seems we are pushed in a variety of directions and every directions demands something new. One way I see this is that educators think they have to know how to be experts at everything when that is the furthest from the truth. Be content and pedagogical experts integrating technology (TPACK) as a tool, but you don’t have to be the technology expert. Today we have tech integrationists who can help a teacher accomplish this.

      Learnership gives a single path that I be teacher leader with solid pedagogy using technology.

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