We’ve blogged quite a bit on the importance of teacher professional development and the role it assumes in educating teachers on ways to engage the classroom. In fact, it’s the core component of our Keeping Learning on Track solution that features formative assessment strategies designed to improve student learning. But in my conversation with Beth Cobb, a district leader in the Vermont public school system, and user of the KLT solution, the difference between teacher learning communities (TLCs) and professional development is substantial.
As Beth states, “They (TLCs) set the tone for how we need to work together in teams. It doesn’t rely on one expert in the team. Everybody’s trying something; they’re writing many action plans so they’re relying on others’ expertise on what they have mastered. In more traditional teacher professional development there’s a presenter that knows more about the topic than you and you’re going to learn about that topic, but in teacher learning communities, we’re all together learning and sharing including the principal.”
Beth went on to talk about how she and the superintendent are doing learning walks, visiting classrooms and seeing what techniques are working. They are learning along with the teachers, creating a collaborative learning environment built around sharing and working together in the teacher learning communities. And, according to Beth, the teachers really enjoy learning from each other.
If you’re interested in learning more about teacher learning communities, their structure, and how they’re used for teacher professional development, drop a comment below or complete the short “Get Started” form and someone will reach out to help you.
Photo Credit to frankjuarez.