How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn?
The book Whatever It Takes by Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker & Gayle Karhanek, has made a mighty and enduring contribution to helping us create the best school we have ever had.
“Quality teaching requires strong Professional Learning Communities.” We at The Fabindia School strive to be a GREAT school by creating PLC (Professional Learning Community). A shared Mission, Vision, Values and Goals; the fundamental purpose of school is learning, not teaching.
What happens in our school when, despite our efforts in the classroom, a student does not learn? When a student experiences difficulty? Is our response based on intervention rather than remediation? Is our response systematic? Is our response timely?
At schools, answers to these questions could be left to individual teachers to resolve but a PLC (Professional Learning Community) will create aschool-wide system of intervention to provide additional time and support when students face difficulty at the initial stage.
Consider the following analogy: you enter your kitchen at 7:00 a.m. secure in the knowledge that your kitchen has everything to prepare your morning tea. On this particular morning, however, you discover that the tea leaves are out of stock. You would question why the maid didn’t tell you, why no one monitored the stock. This absence of a response plan would strike you as extremely peculiar and as incongruous with the mission of PLC’s.
Yet, schools that pledge their allegiance to the mission of learning for all will definitely have plans when a student is not learning. Similarly, when we introduced this Book to our teachers during a PDP session, the learning outcomes were:
- Involvement of every child in the class.
- Connect and identify the child, understand and find a way for that child.
- Develop emotional attachment with the child.
- Extra attention to be given to slow learners.
- Setup action plans/teams to help the child.
The inspiration and content to write this blog comes from the Book “Whatever It Takes” The key message of this book is that Professional Learning Community acknowledges the incongruity between a proposed commitment to learning for all and the absence of a coordinated strategy to respond when students don’t learn.
Our investigation of how systems and processes might operate begins in the next blog post.
~Ms. Rajeshree Shihag is the Principal of The Fabindia School. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org