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PLC Reflection

Sarah J. Koonce

University of St. Mary


PLC Reflection

When teachers work in collaborative teams schools are more likely to see gains in student

achievement, find higher quality solutions to problems, promote increased confidence among

staff, create an environment in which teachers support one anothers strengths and accommodate

weaknesses, provide support for new teachers, and provide all staff with access to an expanded

pool of ideas, materials, and methods (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many 2006). This inspired me to

think about how our team of teachers works to function effectively and purposefully. As part of

my action research project I added a question to the faculty survey asking if teachers felt that

they can and do collaborate with other teachers about issues that they struggle with in their

classrooms. This survey question had the most responses, and the most positive responses about

how much the teachers all loved working with each other. I am excited to share this finding with

all of the teachers so that they all can hear how much appreciation they have for each other and

that they can always ask for help.

One strategy that we have added to our weekly staff meetings are sharing celebration. We

each go around the table and share a celebration about a teaching strategy, student, or co-worker

that we want to celebrate. It is a positive way to start out the meeting and sets the tone for how

the rest of the meeting goes. In successful change efforts, empowered people create short-term

wins-victories that nourish faith in the change effort, emotionally reward the hard workers, keep

the critics at bay, and build momentum. Without sufficient wins that are visible, timely,

unambiguous, and meaningful to others, change efforts, inevitable run into serious problems

(DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many 2006).

I feel that creating the surveys, sharing the good things people love about the school,

celebrating small victories weekly are all helping me learn how to be a better school leader.

Leaders must be able to build a community of shared values. Consensus about values creates

commitment to where the organization is going and how it is going to get there (DuFour,

DuFour, Eaker, Many 2006). As I move forward in the teacher leadership program I hope that I

continue to learn how to lead through creating a positive learning environment that works to help

every teacher at the school to shine.

As our team of teachers continues to move forward and function effectively and

purposefully I reflect on Lencionis 5 dysfunctions of a team. I think that our team of teachers

can continue to work on building trust. I can help build trust by asking other people for help, and

being vulnerable by acknowledging that I do not have all of the answers. I can open up

discussing different ideas without fear of creating conflict. I can buy in to the consensus that

everyone comes up with even if it is not the opinion that I had to begin with. I can be

accountable to the team and focus on creating measurable results to share with the team.

The knowledge of teacher leadership that I gained in this class relates to the USM

conceptual framework of Knowledge in Action that teachers will dedicate themselves to life-long

learning and professional development. This entire class talked about continuing to learn and

professional development with co-workers. This class also addressed providing leadership in

shaping change within learning communities. Each week we learned about how to help shape

change in our school. It also met the goals of performing critical analysis and reflective practice,

fulfilling professional responsibilities with honesty and integrity, and encouraging and modeling

self-assessment through the Action Research Project.

The knowledge that I gained in this class mainly relates to two of The National Board of

Professional Teaching Standards. Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn

from experience and teachers are members of learning communities. Each week we would think

systematically about what we had researched and reflect with the class on how we could

implement the research in our school. We also talked about the PLCs that we work with in our

schools. We reflected on how our PLC ran and what we could do to make it function more

purposefully and effectively.

The knowledge that I gained in this class mostly related to two of USM Graduate

Program Outcomes. The first stated that candidates apply quality principals of leadership,

including skills of effective communication, collaboration, and motivation to shape change and

improve the learning community. Each week we learned about leadership, reflected on what our

current reality is, and worked to motivate and implement change in our school and learning

community. The second stated that candidates demonstrate the ability to be reflective

practitioners by identifying a problem, examining research, advocating a plan, and measuring

and evaluation outcomes. We did this through our Action Research Project. I identified the

problem of student retention, examined research of implementing an annual survey and

monitoring retention rates, advocating a plan with my principal and co-workers, and am

measuring the results with a paper that I will be able to share with our staff, parents, and school



DuFour, R., DuFour, R. Eaker, R, Many, T. (2006). Learning By Doing: A Handbook for

Professional Learning Communities at Work. Solution Tree Press: Bloomington.