In creating time during the school day, it is possible to overlook important participants. Some schools arrange to have all classroom teachers free for team planning but fail to include key support staff members. Professional development that is linked to overall school improvement will need the involvement and support of the whole school community.
It is also important to be sensitive to the reactions of parents and help them see the value of professional development by involving them in professional development planning that is linked to improved instruction. Parents must be kept informed of the value of professional time as it relates to their child's achievement.
Some suggest, therefore, the ideal time for teachers to participate in professional development activities is during the summer, when students are not a consideration and teachers do not have as many demands on their time. However, the most current research suggests that in order for new learnings to be applied effectively, teachers need to be engaged with their students. Teachers are more likely to apply new instructional strategies and embed improved practices in school culture if they receive immediate feedback and support while implementing the new strategies in their classrooms. Teachers need regular opportunities for reflection, dialogue and problem solving at the same time the students are in school.
Time is a necessary condition for effective professional learning communities (PLC). However, it appears from the research that finding time in schools is correlated with the motivation of the school to genuinely engage in PLC work. Time is clearly a resource: "Time, or more properly lack of it, is one of the most difficult problems faced by schools and districts." (Watts & Castle, 1993, p. 306). Time is a significant issue for faculties who wish to work together collegially, and it has been cited as both a barrier (when it is not available) and a supportive factor (when it is available) by staffs engaging in school improvement.
Implementing a quality professional learning community process requires time for professional development and collaboration. How can schools make time for teachers to work together and learn from each other?
The examples listed in this website are not exhaustive but may provide a basis for some “out of the box” thinking for you, your school, and the context in which you work. The examples are not endorsed by the PLCWashington partners, but rather, they are ideas and examples of practices used in schools across the nation that may provide a catalyst for your team to think differently about how to find time to implement and sustain effective PLC’s.
24.5 KB Innovative Grouping
24.5 KB Higher Ed Opportunities
24.5 KB Assemblies
24 KB Theme and Team
24 KB Field Experiences
24 KB Substitutes
24.5 KB Stipends
23.5 KB Banked or Comp Time
26 KB Efficient Use of Meeting Times
24 KB Think Outside the Clock
39 KB Communicating the Use of Time