One of the key points that my Building a Professional Learning Community at Work co-author Parry Graham and I often make is that the learning teams in any given building develop at different rates.
As a result, they need different support and are ready to tackle different tasks at different times.
Just like we are pushing for differentiation and a customized approach to the individual learners in our classrooms, school leaders must take the same approach when working with professional learning teams.
What does that mean for leaders of a PLC? Perhaps most importanty, it means you need to be regularly monitoring just where your learning teams are.
What kinds of tasks are they ready to tackle? What kinds of tasks rest too far outside of their current developmental abilities to introduce?
These two handouts can help you to gather the kind of information necessary to make nuanced choices about the support that you provide to the individual learning teams in your buildings:
Stages of Team Development: This document details the six main stages of team development that Parry and I see in learning communities. More importantly, it provides a list of suggestions for supporting teams in each stage of development.
Professional Development for Learning Teams: This checklist covers the kinds of team-based collaboration and instructional reflection skills that define highly functioning learning teams. Consider giving it to each team in your school to gather first-hand information about what each team is struggling with.
I hope these handouts help. More importantly, I hope that you’ll stop by and leave me some feedback about the handouts if you actually use them in your work.
Parry and I are constantly polishing our own thinking about PLCs, and feedback from others helps us to do just that.
Original Image Credit: Night Run by Phil Roeder
Licensed Creative Commons Attribution on October 10, 2011