Monday, February 26, 2024 | Sha'ban 15, 1445 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Developing Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

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“International evidence suggests that educational reform’s progress depends on teachers’ individual and collective capacity and its link with school-wide capacity for promoting pupils’ learning. Building capacity is therefore critical. Capacity is a complex blend of motivation, skill, positive education, organizational conditions and culture, and support infrastructure.


Put together, it gives individuals, groups, whole school communities, and school systems the power to get involved in and sustain learning over time. Developing professional learning communities (PLCs) appears to hold considerable promise for capacity building for sustainable improvement. As such, it has become a ‘hot topic’ in many countries” (Stoll, L. et al., 2006).


Considering the importance of professional learning communities (PLCs), many educational researchers have proven that continuous professional development cannot be underestimated, particularly for the coming stage of the educational evolution which is a burden on teachers and the demands required of them increase. Moreover, the professional development of teachers contributes to improving education for students which, in turn, improves lifelong learning.


In addition, professional learning communities have characteristics, including Focusing on teamwork that improves teachers' performance, sharing vision, values, and goals, improving student teaching, and learning processes, taking responsibility for providing better education to students and increasing their academic achievement, and teachers' sense of self-accountability and professional confidence.


According to (Tuli& Bekele, 2021) "Research has found that supportive conditions need to be in place so that professional learning communities can flourish and be sustained. Hord (2004) described the supportive conditions of professional learning communities (PLCs) as the physical conditions and human capacities that encourage and sustain a collegial atmosphere and collective learning. On the other hand, others categorize supportive conditions as structural conditions and social/human resources.


“Structural conditions included: time to meet and talk, Physical proximity, Interdependent teaching roles, Communication structures, Teacher empowerment, and Autonomy. Social and human resources include openness to improvement, Trust and Respect, Access to expertise, Supportive leadership, and Socialization. Collegiality and collaboration require time which must be frequent and long enough to discuss ways to collaborate to improve student learning”.


Lave and Wenger (1991) posited that learning is a social process in which individuals co-construct knowledge rather than transmit knowledge from one individual to the next. In the case of Lesson Study, the learning occurs as teachers exchange ideas and collaborate on lessons for their actual classrooms. As teachers engage in the process of Lesson Study, they are collectively examining practice. The Lesson Study approach helps teachers to form communities of practice around planning and teaching. In these communities, teachers construct, organize, share, and refine their knowledge of the lesson".


In conclusion, recognizing the importance of professional learning communities, it is of great interest to stakeholders, scholars, and practitioners to support teachers implement PLCs effectively inside their schools. Where professional learning communities encourage cultural change within the educational institution and provide opportunities for the exchange and support of ideas between teachers, whether they are from one school or from another schools. This, in turn, applies innovative approaches to teaching and learning and provides an opportunity for educational reform of the learning process at all levels individual, group, and organizational.


zeinbf@moe.om


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