Tuesday, August 25, 2009
What is a Professional Learning Community?
From an organizational perspective, *Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker (1998) inform us that a professional learning community is a school that has these six characteristics:
1. Shared mission, vision and values: It is a school in which its members talk, walk, and live with a common set of understandings and values.
2. Collective inquiry: It is a school in which all of its members are continually questioning and investigating what they are doing in order to determine what are the best practices for teaching and learning.
3. Collaborative teams: It is a school in which its members work in collegial teams to promote continuous improvements of individual and organizational performance.
4. Action orientation and experimentation: It is a school in which its members are not satisfied with the status quo. They are continually examining their professional practices, questioning their assumptions, testing old and new theories, generating new hypotheses, and implementing and evaluating new ideas to determine what works best for the members in its learning community.
5. Continuous improvement: It is a school in which continuous improvement is both a means and an end. It is a school in which its mission and vision are never truly realized, but are continually refined and approximated.
6. Results orientation: It is a school in which its initiatives are subject to ongoing assessment on the basis of tangible results measured by multiple internal and external measures.
*DuFour, R. & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: National Education Service.
On the next post we will discuss this question: What is a Congregation of Life-Long Learners?