Text: Creating a Coaching Culture for Professional Learning Communities (Kise and Russell, 2010)

Professional learning communities (PLC) are meant to be teams that provide professional development to educators so that they can help all students reach mastery. In truth, not all groups of educators become teams where this can happen. Learn how to use one common framework, personality type, as a coaching framework that your PLC can use to

  • Recognize and appreciate each other’s strengths, educational beliefs, learning styles, and most natural approach to teaching
  • Communicate in ways that best meet each other’s information needs
  • Develop internal, shared leadership that ensures PLC effectiveness
  • Overcome individual biases when examining student work or evaluating teaching strategies
  • Engage in collaborative lesson planning, rubric creation, learning progression and assessment design, and other essential PLC tasks, using techniques that ensure that no teacher or student is left behind.

Day 1—Establishing a Framework for Coaching, Teaching and Learning

  • Recognizing the Strengths and Learning Styles of Every PLC member. Participants will gain an understanding of personality type, their own preferences, and how a PLC’s blend of personality types can affect values, beliefs and biases.
  • Leadership for Sustainability and Effectiveness. Participants will explore the leadership roles needed for each of the three stages of PLC development. They will work in small groups to understand effective ways to distribute leadership and why it is necessary.
  • PLC Styles for Teacher Success. Our personality type determines the ways we are energized, process information, make decisions and approach work. This means that PLC members have different preferences for the kinds of data they work with, learning activities, feedback, and collaboration. Participants will learn to understand the needs of each person, choose the norms and protocols that best meet the needs of their particular group, and avoid leader and/or group biases.

Day 2—Getting to the Work of PLCs

  • A Basis for Establishing Rigor. Participants will process a reading on academic rigor, discuss and determine the rigor of several academic tasks within their content area, and draw conclusions about rigor in their own curriculum.
  • The Four Essential Questions for PLCS. The DuFour’s, in Learning by Doing, establish the four major questions for PLCs to attend to: What will our students learn? How will we know if they have learned it? What will we do if they haven’t learned it? What will we do if some students reach mastery first?
  • The Fifth Question. We add a fifth: Are students engaged? The group will experience activities that can be used with teachers to help them differentiate with a two-step method that ensures that all students are more motivated.
  • Key Activities for PLCs. Participants will work with protocols for determining learning progressions, unit planning, classroom observations, and formative assessments.