PDI-14: Building a Professional Learning Community through Reflective Practice
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Location: New Orleans—Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, room 341
Science Area: Integrated/General
Intended Audience: Elementary; Middle Level; High Shcool; Supervision/Administration; General
Recommended Pathway Sessions
Kathy DiRanna, K-12 Alliance Statewide Director, WestEd
Karen Cerwin, K-12 Alliance Regional Director, WestEd
Jody Sherriff, K-12 Alliance Regional Director, WestEd
Jo Topps, K-12 Alliance Regional Director, WestEd
This session will address the following questions:
- What are the components of professional learning communities?
- What is reflective practice and how does it build community?
- What evidence is there that professional communities lead to changes in teacher practice and increase student understanding?
- How do professional development strategies such as identifying learning goals, looking at student work, lesson study contribute to reflective practice?
- How can you build communities through reflective practice into your context?
A classroom that is thriving is an environment of complex interactions. At every moment, teachers make hundreds of instructional decisions—some instinctively, some based on planning, and some “just because.” What would happen if those decisions were intentional—the result of reflective practice in which teachers used their reflections to “act in a deliberate, intentional manner” to improve student learning (Reagan, Case, & Brubacher, 2000)?
What could happen if these teachers formed a professional learning community of reflective practitioners? The literature and research tells us that when teachers operate in professional learning communities and take collective responsibility for student learning, they produce school-wide gains in academic achievement. (Louis,Kruse, Marks, 1996).
In this session, we explore what it means to build a professional learning community of reflective practitioners who can, collectively, draw upon their knowledge of science, developmentally appropriate curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment practices to improve student understanding and achievement.
- Develop an awareness of the tenets of learning communities and reflective practice
- Experience a process/tool (creating a conceptual flow of content for instruction and assessment) that can ground a reflective community in real work
- Be introduced to six other tools/strategies that promote reflective practice and that are part of the PDI pathway sessions (use an assessment portfolio to develop an assessment plan for student learning; participate in a lesson study focused on lesson design to optimize student learning ; develop conceptual flows to maximize student learning, design targeted interventions for student learning problems, develop rubrics and planning feedback for students, get started on professional learning communities).
- Recognize the value of reflective practice as an individual teacher, and as a member of the school community.