Education is a field in a constant state of change. Educator’s must continue to grow and change with the field to be effective influences on student growth. Providing professional development opportunities is one way for a district to help teachers learn new skills and strategies to use in the classroom. Principals are responsible for building a school culture that values teachers and helps them to learn and grow. Coaching capable teachers to reflect on their practice is a great place to start.
Professional learning communities are a key component to improving student learing through a systems approach. Teacher groups collaborate in PLCs to focus on continuous improvement in instructional practices. In her article titled Best Practices for Professional Learning Communities, Celine Provini states, “When done well, PLCs lead to reliable growth in student learning... and allow teachers to continually learn from one another.”
A school leader must build a culture of collaboration and trust in order to foster professional learning communities. Teachers must be allowed to work through the process without feeling as if they are being micromanaged every step of the way. Teachers must be given time to collaborate and access to resources in order to complete the work. The leader needs to create a safe environment where teachers are allowed to share their struggles as well as successes. Just like our students, we must be allowed to fail, and learn from our failures without feeling judged or being reprimanded.