Building Professional Learning Communities

How do we help schools deliver better? 

The focus is creating an environment where:
1. Experiential learning is made possible through activities beyond just study, this can consolidate and bring to life learning which would otherwise be theoretical and uncoordinated.
2. Encouraging students to become involved in activities in the community outside the confines of the school curriculum will help develop their confidence, knowledge and contacts to follow passion after leaving school.
3. With teachers’ encouraging young people, they can take full advantage of what both the school and outside interests can offer; this can be a key factor in their progressing successfully through adolescence into a rewarding and fulfilling adult life.
Quality in school education consists of happy teachers, a good student-teacher ratio, modern equipment, adequate space and classroom facilities. A good school brings together the parents, students, teachers and the management to partner for the personal and social development of the child. Our mission aligns with that Learning Forward, the world's largest body of professional educators, with a vision of excellent teaching and learning every day. We partner with schools to build the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning. 

Professional learning means a comprehensive, sustained and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. Our belief:
  • The purpose of professional learning is to ensure a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. 
  • Professional learning strives to go beyond standardised testing to promote authentic learning experiences and application of knowledge and skills. 
  • Professional learning is aligned with rigorous student academic achievement standards, as well as related affiliation standards of state and central boards and guidelines for school improvement goals. 
  • Professional learning regularly assesses the effectiveness of achieving identified learning goals, improving teaching, assisting all students in meeting challenging academic achievement standards and is used to inform ongoing improvements in teaching and student learning. 
  • The success of the students is affected by sustained professional learning conducted among educators at the school and facilitated by well-prepared school principals and/or school-based professional learning trainers, coaches, mentors, master teachers, or other teacher leaders. 
  • Professional learning is a continuous cycle of improvement, which evaluates the student, teacher, and school learning needs through a thorough review of data on teacher and student performance. 
  • Effective professional learning honours differences in student and adult learners by using various approaches to learning and assessment.  
  • Educators have the right to expect excellence in their professional learning and have the power to achieve it. All educators share the responsibility for their own individual growth as well as that of their organisations.
  • Professional learning is most effective when supported by an organisational culture that fosters learning for all. Professional learning must be embedded in the organisational structure for systemic change and may be supported by external assistance. 
  • Collaboration and fostering collective responsibility for improved student performance within the school community is essential for school improvement and student success.
  • All professional learning should be of high quality and aligned to the best standards for professional learning. 
The term professional learning means a comprehensive, sustained and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. School improvement will happen only when the School Board and the Management support the principal in creating an environment that nurtures excellence, trust, risk taking and creativity. Further:
  1. The Faculty and staff must develop meaningful relationships, build collaboration and action teams for solving priority learning issues and share findings across the school toward becoming an authentic learning community; 
  2. The people must see the big learning improvement picture, create shared values and vision, and empower and inspire each other;
  3. Where all personnel are committed to learning, sharing, and relearning to improve learning for all students; and 
  4. Where time and preparation are provided to help everyone understand the essentials of change, share them collectively, and execute them effectively to create learning innovations.
The outcome of the change process for developing new teaching and learning must be to measurably improve student performance.
Acknowledgements:
Schools Can Change - Authors Dale W Lick, Karl H Clauset and Carlene U Murphy & Learningforward.Org
The writer Sandeep Dutt takes the onus of the content and the opinions expressed are his alone, his email is sd@ebd.in.