“Reflective practice is a professional development strategy; it is also a problem solving strategy. It is about individuals working with others to critically examine their own practice to resolve important problems. To engage in reflective practice requires an environment of support. It requires an organizational climate that encourages open communication, critical dialogue, risk-taking and collaboration."
- Karen Osterman and Robert Kottcamp, 1993
Professional Learning Communities
One of the most inspiring things that is underway in schools these days is the increased attention to the power of teacher collaboration. In direct contrast to what my friend used to call the “toll-booth” model of classrooms where teachers are isolated in classrooms, dolling out knowledge as anonymous students passed through. … collegiality changes the lives of teachers and the students who learn with them.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) give teachers the chance to sit down together and share thoughts about their work and ask themselves what works and why? How can I do better? What else do I need to know in order to improve this?
What is your definition of excellence?
What curriculum design “frame” do you work with?
Is it the same as what you believe is best for young learners?
What Federal and state mandates influence what you do each day?
How does your building/school leaders help or inhibit your ability to manage these demands?
What is your own experience, area of expertise and belief system?
What can you learn from your students and the community about all of these same questions?
There is so much that comes at and from teachers’ experience that influences what they do each day. This level of dialogue gives teachers tools to closely examine the world they live in…..like giving fish the opportunity to discuss water!