What is a Professional Learning Community (PLC)?

A PLC is composed of collaborative teams whose members work interdependently to achieve common goals linked to the purpose of learning for all. The team is the engine that drives the PLC effort and the fundamental building block of the organization.It is difficult to overstate the importance of collaborative teams in the improvement process. It is equally important, however, to emphasize that collaboration does not lead to improved results unless people are focused on the right issues. Collaboration is a means to an end, not the end itself. In many schools, staff members are willing to collaborate on a variety of topics as long as the focus of the conversation stops at their classroom door. In a PLC, collaboration represents a systematic process in which teachers work together interdependently in order to impact their classroom practice in ways that will lead to better results for their students, for their team, and for their school. Therefore their collaboration centers around certain critical questions:


  • What knowledge, skills, and disposition must each student acquire as a result of this course, grade level, and/or unit of instruction?
  • What evidence will we gather to monitor student learning on a timely basis?
  • How will we provide students with additional time and support in a timely, directive, and systematic way when they experience difficulty in their learning?
  • How will we enrich the learning of students who are already proficient?
  • How can we use our SMART goals and evidence of student learning to inform and improve our practice?

DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Many (2006). Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work™, pp. 24.

For more information, read the article "What Is a Professional Learning Community?


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