The significance of professional learning community (PLC) to school culture has been proved many times. In the following paper, the two articles “Development of a model for building professional learning communities in schools: teachers’ perspectives in Thai educational context” by Narongrith Intanam, Suwimon Wongwanich, and Nuttaporn Lawthong, and “Collaborative professional development: An examination of changes in teacher identity through the professional learning community model” by Michelle Prytula and Kari Weiman along with Figure 2 “Differentiated Instructional Strategies in Practice: Training, Implementation, and Supervision” by Joyce and Showers will be researched to make conclusions about the effectiveness of the PLC for school culture; in addition, a professional development plan for my school will be discussed. Overall, due to the efforts by teachers within a PLC process, their schools become better educational and pedagogic establishments because the PLC culture helps them undergo important personal and professional changes which results into changing their approaches to work, and achieving remarkable academic success among their students as well as developing warm atmosphere in the educational establishment.
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The two articles discussing the value of PLC process for school culture help see the practical points of PLC. Their authors discuss particular elements of school culture which can be affected in case the PLC is implemented in any particular school in an efficient way. The results of the research by Joyce and Showers shown in Figure 2 also indicate particular areas which might benefit greatly as a result of PLC implementation in any particular school including having shared norms and values; collective focus on student learning; reflective dialogue; constant collaboration and deprivatized practice (Gregory, 2008).
The frameworks of motivation, management, instruction and assessment are to be utilized. Assessment is central in helping students see their progress. It is achieved through class examinations. This important idea is also identified in the researches by Joyce and Showers (Intanam, Wongwanich, & Lawthong, 2012; Gregory, 2008). Motivation is vital for learners since it ensures that they work harder towards achieving the best results they can achieve. Some of the methods of motivating learners include giving them rewards after good performance and complementing their good work. In their article, Prytula and Weiman provide numerous recommendations concerning the use of varied motivation methods within the frameworks of PLC which are dedicated to inspiring students for better achievements in their school subjects (2012). Management involves ensuring that the learners do what they are supposed to do without failure. This is achieved through monitoring them very closely. Instruction is achieved through the teachers who deliver the knowledge that learners are supposed to acquire in class. It is important that the four frameworks (motivation, management, instruction, and assessment) are incorporated into the professional development plan to have a well rounded learning environment that supports student progress in learning as it is seen in the findings by Intanam et al. (2012).
With regards to the PLC implementation, specific needs for learners in an educational setting are to be identified. This ensures that the school administration puts the right strategies in place that assist the learners to get the quality education they are supposed to get (Intanam et al., 2012). Classroom instruction is an important tool that should be utilized in the right manner to ensure that the learners achieve the desired results. Many teachers focus mainly on the learning curricula, and as a result they realize that there are weak points in such curricula for “an average student”. The majority of students with different abilities are under-served by this mainstream curriculum. It is one of the main problems of modern education. To improve the situation, teachers are to develop new effective approaches aiming not only to improve student’s body of knowledge, but also to help them develop as personalities. Effective strategy for building relationship during the educational process should include caring for all students equally as an important condition for success. According to Prytula and Weiman (2012), students are to be provided with equal conditions and care by their teachers no matter how different they might be from their peers in any relation including their origin, race, cultural background and so on. The families disadvantaged in socio-economic terms are faced with especial pressure which makes it much harder for a child from such family to achieve good academic results. Also, pparents should be concerned about their children’s success at school, and if there are some problems, they should be solved together with parents. There are three parental concerns influencing parent-teacher communication needs. Parents should visit the school and talk to teachers about the behavior and achievements of their children. Even if the student does not have any problems at school, parents should still visit the school regularly to control the progress of their children. Parents may organize special parent-teacher conferences to discuss the current issues and find the way of their solving. Regular phones to the teacher may also be useful if the parents cannot find time to visit the school. Parents should collaborate with teachers and provide support if necessary. Thus, the best results may be achieved with the help of parent-teacher collaboration.
Besides, a teacher should provide multiple means of action and expression to the students. The multiple means of engagement should be used by a teacher to involve students in the process of learning. Making educational plans the pupils’ needs and abilities should be taken into account. Children with psychological problems need a special attention. Such variable as specific level of learning difficulty is significantly emphasized by the situation in modern education. This important principle can find many reflections in the articles under consideration. According to Prytula and Weiman (2012), specific level of learning difficulty is to be regulated on the basis of the student’s previous experience. Also, engagement in collective and reflective practice is shown as an important goal for teachers. Intanam et al. (2012) argue that teachers are to combine their experience in order to provide relevant assistance to their students during the complicated period of adolescences. In particular, students need help in managing their emotions and at times they might even need someone to show one’s empathy to them (Gregory 2008).
The findings of the above-mentioned research studies may be well applicable to my work setting as the need is rather great there for the improvement of school culture and educational concepts applied in it. It is clear that the most efficient way to improve performances at any school is in improving professional level of teachers working in it. Thus, my professional development plan targets developing teachers’ scientific and psychological skills which will directly affect students’ academic accomplishments. The plan aims to enhance advancing professional identities of teachers by means of scientific work, psychological trainings, and improving teacher working environment as a result of incorporating new information technologies. To success in their work, teachers should have shared norms and values; collective focus on student learning; reflective dialogue; constant collaboration and deprivatized practice.
The application of the above-mentioned professional development plan will significantly benefit the efficiency of teachers’ work at my school. First of all, creating new educational environment in the frameworks of the PLC culture will help teachers from my school improve their scientific tradition. This will result into development of their professional identities. As teachers will become more skilled and knowledgeable, academic results among the students will also significantly improve. In addition, new teacher professional environment will include the implementation of advanced information technologies which will result into technological expansion. Finally, because teachers will be better prepared for educational work psychologically, the microclimate in my school will become more positive which will be seen in the improvement of relationships between teachers and students.
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In conclusion, the value of the PLC to school culture can be hardly underestimated which is many times proved by respected specialists. The findings by Prytula and Weiman, Intanam, Wongwanich, and Lawthong, and Joyce and Showers indicate many areas where the PLC is crucial for the success of teachers’ work. The professional development plan designed on the concepts of PLC culture will definitely help each specialist improve one’s achievements in his/her work. In particular, it will cause important personal changes and will help improving professional skills. Such changes will result into creating positive educational microclimate, and achieving academic success by the students.
Gregory, G. (2008). Differentiated instructional strategies in practice: Training, implementation, and supervision (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Intanam, N., Wongwanich, S, & Lawthong, N. (2012). Development of a model for building professional learning communities in schools: teachers’ perspectives in Thai educational context. Journal of Case Studies in Education, 3, 1-11.
Prytula, M., & Weiman, K. (2012). Collaborative professional development: An examination of changes in teacher identity through the professional learning community model. Journal of Case Studies in Education, 3, 1-19.