Professional learning communities (also known as PLCs) as defined by Asie Model, “is a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students.” These learning communities are a resource to help educators continuously strengthen the curriculum and competency for students.
In a recent conversation with Dr. Josue Falaise, CEO of Gomo Education Services, he shared 6 questions to evaluate professional learning communities for curriculum and competency.
Setting an Effective PLC Foundation
The first 3 questions Josue suggests to ask when evaluating your professional learning communities are:
- What do we want students to know?
- How do we know when they know it?
- What do we do if they don’t already know it?
These are the foundational questions from a curriculum and instruction lens to help to get a full understanding of the needs of your school and professional learning community.
Making your PLC equitable
Once you have set a goal and strategy for your school, you can then evaluate the equity of your school using these 3 questions:
- What are the inequalities or inequities that exist in your school/district/organization?
- How culturally competent are the educators and leaders in your organization?
- What steps do we take towards becoming culturally proficient and implementing equitable practices?
Understanding the equity challenges that lie within your school is important because these are challenges that you can lean on your professional learning communities to help solve.
After laying out this question framework, we asked Josue, what results did you see?
Josue explained that when he applied these questions to his district there was a paradigm shift in people’s minds. The students at his school wanted to think critically, problem-solve, and use design thinking on their own. Josue described this as the 21st-century mindset.
When professional learning communities become fully culturally competent, they are able to relate what the students are learning in the classroom to the community outside of the classroom. For students, this gives them some insight into why the curriculum is important and how these lessons are applicable to the real world.
The importance of balancing technology with curriculum and competency
If not used correctly, or without the correct training, technology can be misused in the classroom. A school might have great technology, but if it is lacking great teaching this can lead to low engagement, inefficiency, and lack of self-efficacy by students. Josue explained that every community is different when it comes to competency.
Some schools have state of the art technology, well-trained professionals, great tech plans, and fit the 21st century standards while other districts have inequity because of the lack of cultural competency and inability to give students what they need. Josue stated how not having the right curriculum for students can lead to a lack of performance, attainment, engagement, and achievement.
The most important part of building a strong curriculum and competency structure is making sure that the professional learning communities in your school or district are constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of their students. To give the staff, students, and school the best possible educational experience, professional learning communities should also seek to better educate themselves on the benefits of technology in the classroom.
If you are looking to get involved in more PLC’s outside of your school’s community, join us on our #TechCoachCon Facebook page to collaborate with and learn from those going through the same challenges during remote learning.
Listen to the full conversation with Josue Falaise on our Tackling Tech Podcast!
Learn how to create effective PD strategies at our first Professional Development Summit on May 29th!
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