Reflective Practice: Professional Learning Communities
A professional learning community, or PLC, is a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students.
It should be noted that professional learning communities may be called many different things, including professional learning groups, collaborative learning communities, critical friends groups, or communities of practice, to name just a few common terms. While some educators define “professional learning community” in a very specific way, others may use the term more loosely, even applying it to meetings or groups that other educators would not consider to be a genuine “professional learning communities.”
Professional learning communities tend serve to two broad purposes: (1) improving the skills and knowledge of educators through collaborative study, expertise exchange, and professional dialogue, and (2) improving the educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of students through stronger leadership and teaching. Professional learning communities often function as a form of action research—i.e., as a way to continually question, reevaluate, refine, and improve teaching strategies and knowledge.