Reposted from the ASCD Inservice Blog:
Educator PLCs come in all shapes and sizes, and they all thrive on connections between interests, inquiries, and ideas. Whether working together side-by-side on a daily basis or meeting intermittently as time and opportunities allow, PLCs remain vital so long as members continue to value working together. Face-to-face or online, asynchronously or in real time, the venue doesn’t define the community—the work does.
The life cycle of a vibrant, thriving PLC includes six phases: building understanding, acquiring expertise,practicing skills, solving problems, contributing new knowledge, and creating original products. At the end of the life cycle, members will either regroup and recommit to new work or disband, having completed their objectives.
The legacy of a successful PLC is its members’ demonstrated, observable contributions to society. Just like artists, artisans, and their apprentices came together to improve their crafts, ultimately providing a contribution to society that is still valued and appreciated in museums today, education PLCs should seek to achieve similar long-lasting effects. As we conclude Connected Educator Month, let’s resolve to not just make connections in a social media sense but also in a substantive, meaningful, generative sense that pushes us to move education forward, improving the world in which our children will live. Professional learning communities have the potential to shape our legacy and our children’s future.