Professional Learning Communities, or PLC’s, at least in my own experiences, have been a theory based venture. At my old school we would have PLC meetings but there was no structure or leadership. Only about half of the teachers would show up due to this and their own laziness, which meant even less would be accomplished. To add to that, the union representatives would allow even less by making sure that the meeting times did not go over the allotted contractual time agreements.
PLC as a concept seems to be just that. There is no difference between a faculty meeting or department meeting, and the PLC meetings. It was just a label to call something old by a different name. The problem was that people often used the term PLC to promote an idea that did not exist. An idea that would stir up the pot and try to get teachers excited about meetings. I cannot fault people for doing this. Often times work can get stagnant and you need something to fire it up. I agree with the concept of teacher collaboration, as just about every teacher would, but it has been something that has always been done. PLC was just another idea that someone wanted to show that really was nothing new at all. They wanted to slap a new label on an old can of soup.
I know my experiences have jaded me on this but I have not been shown PLC’s that work in the field, at least not in any different way than normal teacher collaboration. Since the beginning of education collaboration has been key to the advancement of the field. It is crucial to student development, and is the crutch of the field of education. If we all collaborate with each other on best practices and keep these open lines of communication we will grow. I think we need to quit trying to come up with cool names for it and just work together. If we spent as much time on collaborating as we do on trying to build the perfect infrastructure of a meeting we would fix these problems in education. Until we do that nothing will change.
Educators often try and find new ways to stimulate student behavior and increase student productivity. This cannot happen in theory based implementations. We recently had a speaker come into our school and work with us on an analytical thinking activity. He gave us his book at the end of it. It honestly was one of the best professional development sessions I have ever been a part of and when he gave us his book I was shocked. He did not have a published book but rather a photocopied version. He was not trying to get rich off a new fad. He wanted to change the system. That’s all. That needs to be the motivation for change to truly happen.