The Practice of Authentic PLCs

The Practice of Authentic PLCs
A Guide to Effective Teacher Teams

© 2011 | 208 pages | Corwin

"This text illustrates the essence of what it really means to be a teacher—to care deeply and to think and act collectively about student and teacher learning."
—Barrie Bennet, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto, Ontario

"Daniel Venables has made a terrific contribution to the growing effort of teachers to educate ourselves in professional learning communities through protocols that focus our attention on the right stuff. Happily his writing is as accessible as his material is useful and his insights fresh."
—Joseph P. McDonald, Professor of Teaching and Learning and author of The Power of Protocols
New York University

Discover the keys to building effective, authentic PLCs

Creating an authentic professional learning community requires breaking down the walls of isolation and collaborating to improve student learning, because collectively we are more than the sum of our parts. Grounded in the award-winning author's foundational work with the Coalition of Essential Schools, this book enables educators to hit the ground running with a research-based process that includes:

  • Setting the foundation for collaboration and team building
  • Facilitating protocols
  • Examining student and teacher work
  • Implementing teacher-designed common formative assessments
  • Analyzing and responding to data

Educators will find numerous strategies, activities, exercises, and guidance for PLC leaders, including FAQs and a troubleshooting guide to common obstacles. When teachers are given the time, tools, and power to improve instruction, everyone benefits.

About the Author
The Call for PLCs  
Out With Programs, In With People  
I. The Context for Authentic PLCs
1. The Business of PLCs
PLCs in Context  
Meeting Logistics  
The Roles of the Players  
Summary: PLCs  
2. What to Do First: Building a Foundation for Collaboration
Building the Teams  
Establishing Group Norms  
Constructing Community Knowledge  
Summary: Collaboration  
II. The Essential Tasks of Authentic PLCs
3. Looking at Student and Teacher Work
Protocols for Student and Teacher Work  
Bringing and Examining Work  
Peer Observations  
Summary: Looking at Work  
4. Designing Quality Common Formative Assessments
Deciding Assessment Content  
Designing Standards-Based Assessments  
Alternative Forms of Common Assessments  
Scoring and Grading CFAs  
Reviewing CFA Data and Planning for Intervention  
Summary: CFAs  
5. Reviewing and Responding to Data
Data Literacy  
Reviewing Existing Data  
Pursuing Additional Data  
Translating Data Into Action  
Summary: Data  
III. Coaching Authentic PLCs
6. Coach's Guide to Facilitating Protocols and Activities
Protocols for Team Building, Norm Setting, and Constructing Community Knowledge  
Protocols for Teacher and Student Work and Issues and Dilemmas  
Two Facilitator Protocols  
Frequently Asked Questions  
Summary: Coaching Protocols  
7. Troubleshooting Common Obstacles
Common Obstacles and Challenges  
A Note to Principals  
Summary: Coaching Teachers  
Coach's Appendix
Protocols and Activities
References and Further Readings

"This text illustrates the essence of what it really means to be a teacher; to care deeply and to think and act collectively about student and teacher learning."

Barrie Bennet, Professor
OISE/University of Toronto, Ontario

"This book offers its readers practical tools and hard-won insights gleaned from Venables’ extensive experience in the day-to-day work of PLCs. This guide is a valuable resource for seriously creating PLCs that continuously improve teaching and learning for the benefit of all students."

Dennis Sparks, Emeritus Executive Director
National Staff Development Council, Ann Arbor, MI

"The book provides a clear roadmap for a member or facilitator of a PLC."

Diane Barone, Professor
University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada

"This is one of the most helpful books I have read on developing an effective Professional Learning Community in a school. It will make a distinct contribution to the field."

Rosemarie Young, Principal
Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY

"This book offers a practical approach to school cultural change through the implementation of the underlying principles of Professional Learning Communities. Readers are walked through the key developmental stages and processes to change the relationships within the school, and consequently the way the school operates to improve students’ learning."

Neil MacNeill, Principal
Ellenbrook Primary School, Western Australia
Key features
  • Details a clear, step-by-step process for implementing PLCs that is both research based AND field-tested that enables educators to hit the ground running.
  • Builds on the big ideas and characteristics of authentic PLCs by adding three linchpins of authentic PLCs to help schools narrow the focus into three main tasks of PLCs: Examining student and teacher work; designing and implementing Teacher-designed Common Formative Assessments (CFAs); Analyzing and responding to data (including but not limited to CFA data).
  • Includes a chapter for PLC coaches that contains a FAQ section, all protocols and activities referred to in previous chapters, as well as a trouble-shooting guide that addresses common PLC obstacles.
  • Offers numerous strategies, samples and tools to help educators establish and engage in the work of PLCs.

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ISBN: 9781412986632

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