New Teacher Advocate Summer 2012 : Page 3

Intentional Collective Learning and Application During your preservice program, professors and master teachers probably asked you to reflect on your teaching and identify strengths and areas for improvement. Now that you are on your own, it is important to continue examining your practice. Effective teachers maintain an inquiry stance or an intellectual frame of mind because “we now know that learning to teach is about raising questions and working with others to generate local knowledge rather than simply receiving information from outside experts and applying it in the same way for every student in every context” (Cochran-Smith 2011, 22). To find solutions to your professional questions, your PLC should take advantage of the wealth of resources available through your district and professional organizations such as Kappa Delta Pi. Supportive Conditions Successful PLCs require the appropriate physical and relational conditions. The physical conditions refer to a consistent time, day, and location of the meeting. After studying PLCs among elementary teachers, Lujan and Day (2010, 15) stated, “Time must be kept sacred.” In other words, the PLC meeting must take priority over competing responsibilities. In addition to the physical conditions, consider relational conditions by building rapport among PLC members. At the beginning of each meeting, spend time getting to know your colleagues. It is sad, but teachers often know more about their students than their colleagues next door. Shared Practice After building rapport, devote the remaining PLC time to sharing activities designed and taught by group members. Include samples of student work to evaluate the activities’ effectiveness. Once colleagues have shared, ask questions to promote deeper, reflective thinking and, when appropriate, offer constructive feedback. During the first meeting, set ground rules and reach consensus for giving and receiving feedback. Your PLC Many schools recognize the value of PLCs and ask their teachers to form these collaborative professional development groups. Others do not. If you find yourself in the latter situation, then seek like-minded colleagues to form your own. The value of your own PLC to your growth as a professional and success in your first year is priceless. References Cochran-Smith, M. 2011. Does learning to teach ever end? Kappa Delta Pi Record Fall Special Issue: 22–24. Available at: http://bit.ly/KdpRf11cs. Hord, S. M., and E. F. Tobia. 2012. Reclaiming our teaching profession: The power of educators learning in community. New York: Teachers College Press. Ingersoll, R. M., and M. Strong. 2011. The impact of induction and mentoring programs for begin-ning teachers: A critical review of the research. Review of Educational Research 81(2): 201–33. Lieberman, A., and L. Miller, eds. 2008. Teachers in professional communities: Improving teaching and learning . New York: Teachers College Press. Lujan, N., and B. Day. 2010. Professional learning communities: Overcoming the roadblocks. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 76(2): 10–17. O’Malley, G. S. 2010. Designing induction as pro-fessional learning community. The Educational Forum 74(4): 318–27. Available at: http://bit.ly/ HW0XiE. New Teacher Advocate online: http://bit.ly/NTASm12v19 Dr. Bond, President of Kappa Delta Pi, is Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University–San Marcos and Counselor of its award-winning Eta Zeta Chapter. Dr. Bond also serves as a key member of KDP’s Public Policy Committee. Select-N-Connect I, II FREE access during May and June. Download now for your fall PLCs! Topics include: Differentiating Instruction, English Learners, and Family Involvement. Don’t miss these free PD materials from KDP Connect, the subscription service to 24/7 learning. http://www.kdpconnect.org Online Learning Podcast Find out what PLCs look like, how they enhance collabora-tion, and how members share skills and knowledge, while keeping current on technology. http://bit.ly/Wplc412 Resources Catalog Plan to focus your PLC sessions using research-based articles and podcasts in the KDP Resources Catalog. Choose from topics ranging from grad school funding and academic writing to classroom management and curriculum ideas. http://t.co/cFzZVNWc New Teacher Advocate • Summer 2012 • 3

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