So, as you may or may not have guessed, I am an outspoken person. Many of you may be as well, so you know what I mean when I say that I don't always agree with others. I'm not one to stop and accept things that I don't find to be true. I will not make something "look good" just because it is expected of me. I will defend my point of view until my ideas and perceptions are changed. I do my research, and I present my perspective to others. They may agree or disagree--to me it doesn't matter, I actually prefer hearing another perspective. I am a good listener.
Now, I have been a middle school teacher for nine years now, and I have worked with a strong team. Our students' learning has always been the focus of our discussions and decisions. Last spring I was sent to two days of DuFour PLC training. What great motivational speakers, Richard and Rebecca DuFour. My thoughts are that the middle school teaming approach to education was the foundation of the Professional Learning Community outlined by the DuFours. They identify three big ideas in the May 2004 Educational Leadership article "Schools as Learning Communities: What Is a 'Professional Learning Community'?"
Big Idea #1: Ensuring That Students Learn
Big Idea #2: A Culture of Collaboration
Big Idea #3: A Focus on Results
These are the big ideas that my middle school team has demonstrated for years. With the exception of the couple making a whole lot of money on their concept, does anyone have any insight on the differences between the work of a middle school team of teachers and this "new" PLC initiative? My argument is that they are very similar.
Now, the reason I ask is that recently my PLC was asked to present to the school board regarding what a PLC is. My team composed a handout for board members regarding the work we have been doing for years and how this "new" initiative reinforces the work we have been doing. It's not new; we have been working in professional learning communities for years. As my team's PLC facilitator, I did the presentation. The rest of the story is unfolding....
Some administrators, perhaps, hold the belief that teaming and a PLC are nothing alike.
Any feedback would be helpful in framing my thoughts.