How do leaders in the school effectively engage staff in professional dialogue?
The NSDC (National Staff Development Council) delineates 12 standards for developing pd for staff. In this journal, I would like to reflect on Learning Communities and Collaboration since both are inextricably linked and they are the bases for moving a staff forward in affecting student achievement.
In order to be successful, the NSDC suggests that these communities meet almost every day. In my opinion this may be somewhat idealistic. However, a weekly or bi-weekly or even monthly meeting may be more realistic. I believe that teachers must decide on a focus area that their meetings should target. There should be some literature that is research-based (also one of the standards) available to explore for these teachers. The purpose of the meetings should be clear and the time allotted should be clear.
Collaboration in Learning Communities does not always have to happen face-to-face. Technology can facilitate online collaboration through the use of wikis, forums and google docs. Learning Communities are also not limited to staff within the school, but can also include teachers from the district, different districts and even go beyond conventional borders to include teachers teaching abroad.
According to the NSDC, collaboration (in PLCs) also satisfies the need for “social interaction that often deepens learning and interpersonal support and synergy for creatively solving the complex problems of teaching and learning.” When those conversations are purposeful they can be very powerful in changing practices.