Professional Learning Communities

In the upcoming episode of Middle School Matters we mention part of Senge‘s 5 Disciplines which can be found here.  The 5 Disciplines are:

  1. Systems Thinking – Integrating disciplines, creating a body of knowledge and tools that help understand patterns and how to change them and take into consideration the Law of Unintended Consequences when changing systems.
  2. Personal Mastery – The “chain is only strong as the weakest link” idea.  A school’s strength in learning is only as strong as the weakest teacher-learner.
  3. Mental Models – What assumptions about learning do I have?  Since teachers focus on the experiences that reinforce their own beliefs and observations about how learning happens, creating a space for dialog and reflection among teachers is a beginning to changing the culture in a school and creating a Professional Learning Community.
  4. Shared Vision – Remember World War II movies in the Pacific?  The submarine trying to sneak into an enemy base and sink the fleet without being caught?  The captain was the only one who got to look through the periscope and see what was going on.  In order for the crew to know what was going on, the captain had to relay information to the various parts of the boat.  (I always thought passing the message down the boat from one end to the other was a little humorous.)  The crew saw the surface through the captains eyes and made adjustments to the boat with quick and relevant information.
  5. Team Learning – Teams of teachers use their areas of strength and interest to raise the level of learning in their team.  The team focus is centered on two parts:  1.  Interdisciplinary Learning and 2.  data that allows changes and implementation quickly and easily.

Whether developing a PLC is an active goal in your school or you find it being practiced informally in your learning community, what kinds of things do you see colleagues doing to create a PLC in the school?