Showing posts from September, 2014

School Leadership: The Journey to the Dark Side.

As Professional Learning Communities get under way here at North Berwick, I can see how a school leader might be drawn to the dark side.  It goes something like this:
Start teaching . . . "School leaders are idiots.  They think that top-down direction will improve schools, but what teachers really need is the space and time to collaborate and enquire into their own practice.  Teachers are not the problem - teachers are the solution" . . . Get promoted . . . Implement a programme in school that sets aside time for teachers to collaborate and enquire into their own practice . . . Some teachers think the programme is a waste of time.  They think that another idiot leader is trying to change the school through a top-down intervention . . . "What is wrong with these teachers? They are a real problem."

I will strive to avoid falling into this trap!

Professional Learning Communities: Why bother?

I imagine some colleagues thinking something along these lines about being in a PLC:

Seriously Robert, I do buy into the whole improvement thing, but if you want me to get better as a teacher, why don't you just observe me, then tell me something that I could improve?  I'd be up for it.  Why do I have to spend hours attending PLC meetings, observing, coaching, being observed and being coached?  It just seems like a huge waste of time, when we all know that we are desperately time-poor as teachers.
I would respond as follows:

 There are many reasons why I think it is better to be in a PLC than to follow your suggestion, even though PLCs take more time.

1. Being told to make a change to one's practice rarely leads to a permanent change in practice.  I wish this were not true, but all the research I have seen indicates that it is.  And not just for other people - it is true for you and me!

2. PLCs  improve the capacity of participants to drive their own improvement. Even if m…