Module 4: The Practice of PLCs (part 1) - Essential Questions
- How do we recognize we have a culture of trust?
- What do PLC Teams do?
- How does the work of a PLC connect to what we are already doing?
to identify and use practices of an effective PLC
how collaborative analysis of day-to-day classroom data like student and
teacher work is a key practice to improving teaching and learning
the practice of using “Looking At Student Work” and “Dilemma” Protocols to
- Looking at Student Work – Using a structured process (a protocol) to look collaboratively at student and teacher work in order to assess challenges (and successes).
- Student work – one or more of these three components (in any combination): artifacts (writing or tangible products of projects), classroom behavior and performances (records of classroom behavior or performances).
– The person who
takes responsibility for initiating, maintaining, monitoring, and concluding
structured group activities. The main role of a facilitator is to maintain the
integrity of the process and attend to the needs of the participants while
being as unobtrusive as possible. This role usually rotates in highly
- Feedback (descriptive) – A means of communicating with others by describing their work. Although feedback is usually evaluative in nature, descriptive feedback is literal and non-judgmental. It is geared primarily towards a deeper understanding of the work in question instead of evaluating it.
(giving) – A process
that is often solicited (formally or informally) by a colleague in need of a
particular type of information related to his/her work. The important thing to
remember here is that this is essentially a communication process that works
best when it is constructive rather than destructive. Giving constructive
feedback is not easy and it does not come naturally to many. It must be learned
and practiced and works best in a context of trust and mutual respect.
(receiving) – This is
the other side of the "communication coin." Like giving feedback,
this is not easy and for the most part does not come naturally to many of us
who have worked individually and in isolation for most of our teaching careers.
It must be learned and practiced and requires a special emphasis on active
listening and controlling the reactive reflex which so often prevents our
ability to reflect and learn from others' feedback.
- Clarifying Questions – Questions that need to be answered in order to clearly understand what one is being asked to do. Clarifying questions are often formulated by individuals who really want to understand what kind of feedback they are being asked to provide for a colleague. Clarifying questions are not judgmental or evaluative in nature. They require a simply answer, a yes or a no and help the participants to “set the stage” for the presenter’s question. These questions are usually one stage in a protocol prior to the use of probing questions.
- Probing Questions – Questions that attempt to "push" a conversation deeper, add to, or challenge ideas being considered are probing questions. They are often used to explore the underlying assumptions of a particular argument or line of thought.