I pride myself on intentional design. I simply love thinking about and shaping adult learning experiences that are authentic, focused, that challenge the status quo, and that create a space for educators to be treated as and to embody the professionals that they are.
This year, I have the opportunity to design and facilitate a professional learning community experience for a set of 9 online facilitators of high school courses. I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking through the desired outcomes for the year and a road map intended to get us there.
Anticipated Participant Outcomes:
- Develop knowledge and skills as disciplined researchers of our own practice
- Build capacity to collaborate with colleagues as critical friends
- Have evidence of the impact of instructional experiments on students’ outcomes
- Earn 24 continuing education credits towards teacher certification renewal
I am determined to pull off a PLC experience that results in participants being able to speak explicitly, and with simplicity, to the specific change or changes they made to their practice and the specific outcomes that resulted. And if we do this well, those outcomes will clearly be improvements in student outcomes, connected to specific challenges my PLC participants wanted to address. This will happen, and here’s a basic picture of how:
If you’re familiar with school improvement literature, some language above is probably already ringing some bells. To inform the design of the improvement process, I’m leveraging improvement science research through the book, Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. I’m looking forward to building upon my own knowledge base around improvement science as a result of using this book, and I aspire for this PLC effort to become a concrete example of improvement science principles and practices applied in a practical way.
We’ll be going about this effort using the following structures:
- Monthly online, synchronous 60-minute sessions, using Google Hangouts as our online meeting format and Google Docs for dynamic and interactive agendas, running from November 2016 to June 2017.
- Concrete next steps to be acted upon/executed by individual participants between synchronous sessions, to be prepared for the following synchronous session
- Asynchronous scaffolding supports that are optional in nature, offered by me and/or by colleagues from my organization’s research team (i.e. graphic organizers, additional literature/resources to support steps in improvement process, 1:1 or small group coaching)
- An asynchronous, online space using our organization’s Learning Management System (LMS), Brightspace by Desire 2 Learn, for informal interaction, such as comments, discussions, and updates.
I intend to use this blog space to reflect upon the PLC experience as it unfolds. Our 1st meeting was yesterday…stay tuned for the next blog that offers the specifics, reflections on how it went, and initial thoughts on next steps towards realizing this goal of making a true PLC happen.