We are a cross-disciplinary professional learning community made up of teacher leaders from English Language Arts, Math, Science and Technology. As content-area teacher leaders, it is difficult to find a PLC that is relevant to the leadership aspect of our work. Participating in a PLC composed of teacher leaders and coaches, allows us to focus on the elements of high-quality instruction that transcend content-area boundaries.
Through structured classroom observations, we identify common themes for professional development we can provide to strengthen instructional strategies used by teachers. So far we have provided professional development with common themes such as formative assessment anchored in the definition provided by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge, questioning and discussion techniques, promoting student engagement with content, student-centered instruction, strategies to support collaborative work and student participation in the classroom.
We look forward to working with other teacher leaders on the issues of encouraging teachers to reach out for support, and providing additional professional development accessible through technology or evening sessions. Finally, we need to make a plan for how to collect data, assess the effectiveness of our work supporting teachers, and use this information to modify and adjust our future work so that we are truly using the professional learning community model.