Professional learning communities (PLCs) are groups of teachers who collaborate around improving individual instructional practice. PLCs are the primary vehicle for teacher instructional change in K-12 schools. There are a number of professional development providers that have structures and protocols that are used in the K-12 setting. Project leaders used a structure based on Dylan Wiliam's research with K-12 math and science teachers.
Wiliam's thoughts about teacher collaborative groups are summarized in an article called Changing Classroom Practice. Wiliam provides specific criteria for effectively working in collaborative groups for extended periods of time in order to improve instruction.
Wiliam, Dylan. “Changing Classroom Practice.” Educational Leadership Volume 65.4 (2007-2008): 36-42.
Based on Wiliam's work and other resources, project leaders provided materials to help instructors plan collaborative meetings for the academic year, identify and distribute roles and responsibilities, consider practical collaborative strategies supported by research, articulate and agree to a structure for collaborative meetings, and adopt an instructional action plan to share with other group members.
Collaborative Planning.docx provides a structure to help groups plan collaborative meetings throughout the academic year.
Group Roles and Responsibilities.docx defines responsibilities for group members assuming roles for the collaborative group.
Practical Suggestions for Collaborative Groups.docx has ideas from Dylan Wilam's work and others for instructors working to make instructional changes together.
Collaborative Meeting Structure.docx provides a draft structure for groups to refine in order to meet their own needs. Research and our experience makes it very clear that the majority of collaborative groups will benefit from the use of a meeting structure or protocol. The meeting structure is one way to ensure that collaborative meetings stay focused on improving teaching and learning within group members' classrooms.
Instructional Action Plan.docx clearly articulates the instructional changes each instructor intends to make prior to the next meeting, as well as the support needed from colleagues and department leaders in order to make those changes.
Looking at Student Work Protocol.docx is a protocol to use when instructors share student work at a collaborative meeting. The protocol will focus the group on what they are able to learn from student work samples, as well as potential next steps for the instructor.