Professional Learning Community (PLC)

An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve. Professional learning communities operate under the assumption that the key to improved learning for students is continuous job-embedded learning for educators.
DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2010). Learning by doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work (2nd ed.). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

The Five C’s of a PLC

Collaboration, Common Curriculum, Common Assessments, Collective Prevention and Intervention, and Confirmed Instructional Practices
Westover, J. (2008). The collaborative administrator: Working together as a professional learning community.
Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

What is a Professional Learning Community

“It starts with a group of teachers who meet regularly as a team to identify essential and valued student learning, develop common formative assessments, analyze current levels of achievement, set achievement goals, share strategies, and then create lessons to improve upon those levels.”
Mike Schmoker in On common ground: The power of professional learning communities. DuFour, R., DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (Eds.). (2005). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

“The very essence of a learning community is a focus on and a commitment to the learning of each student.”– DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R.,

Key Terms for a Professional Learning Community

Professional Learning Communities address the following key questions that are associated with learning:

  • What do we expect all students to learn?
  • How will we know when students have learned?
  • How will we respond when students experience difficulty in learning?
  • How will we respond when students already know the key concepts, skills, and content?
  • Based on a collaborative analysis of the results of our efforts, what can we do to improve student learning?

Eaker, R., DuFour, R., & DuFour, R. (2002). Getting started: Reculturing schools to become professional learning communities. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

“In a professional learning community, a teacher’s role shifts from working in isolation to working in collaboration with others.”
Many, T. (2009). Make time for collaboration. TEPSA News. pp. 8-9.

When schools function as a PLC their members:

  • Collectively pursue shared mission, vision, values and goals
  • Work interdependently in collaborative teams focused on learning
  • Engage in ongoing collective inquiry into best practice and the “current reality” of student achievement and the prevailing practices of the school
  • Demonstrate an action orientation and experimentation
  • Participate in systematic processes to promote continuous improvement
  • Maintain an unrelenting focus on results

DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional learning communities at work: Best practices for enhancing student achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.