But What are Your
PLC’s Talking About?
January 7, 2009


Leadership Innovations Team
Alison Olzendam, Ph. D.
alison@leader...
Targets for today

• Know and understand the research behind
  effective teaching practices
• Understand why a PLC is powe...
Operating principles for today

 •   Safe learning environment
 •   No learners can opt out
 •   No wrong answers
 •   Mod...
Strategy we will use today

•   Find a partner for each of the following:
•   Rock N Roll
•   Disco
•   Latin
Why an instructional focus? Why
leadership? Marzano
          Scenario              Percentile Entering   Percentile Leavi...
Why Collaborate in PLC’s?
      Factors Affecting Student Achievement
School Factors

   •Guaranteed & Viable Curriculum
 ...
Why Collaborate in PLC’s?

 Schools with strong Professional
Learning Communities (PLC’s) are
4 times more likely to be im...
1. What conclusions can you make?
2. What are you curious about?


                                             Grade 10, ...
Rock n Roll over to that partner

 • Scatterplots.
 • How do you explain the differences
   between the two slides?
Effective Staff Development?

 • Think of a training that was effective in
   changing your practice
 • What were the elem...
Effective School…Effective Teacher

• How do teachers improve practice?
• Staff Development
• What staff development activ...
Professional Development Processes:
Impact and Use
Why a focus on instruction?


 • “The top performing school systems
   recognize that the only way to improve
   outcomes ...
So how do students learn best?

• Instruction that works for all students
• How People Learn
• Project-National Research C...
Research: How People Learn
You have 20 minutes. Jigsaw “How People
  Learn.” Groups of 4-similar roles
1-page 15 #1
2-page...
Looking at the Research

How People Learn – Key Findings
• Students come to the classroom with
   preconceptions about how...
How People Learn

• Adults are people too!
• Dance over to your Latin partner
• Read the last page of Chapter 2 of How
  P...
Share your staff development training

With your partner discuss which elements were
  present:
Learner centered?
Knowledg...
If instruction is the key, and PLC’s
are the structure
  • How do we talk about instruction?
  • An instructional Protocol...
What an instructional framework is
NOT…
 • Intended to be used for evaluation
 • A silver bullet
 • It will not be the too...
Two powerful tools for teachers:

• A structure that allows them to talk to each
  other and share knowledge
• Professiona...
THE GOAL!

• To turn over the ownership of student
  achievement to those that have the greatest
  impact…
• Teachers!
• A...
Charlotte Danielson

• When teachers use the same framework,
  they improve communication because
  they’re using the same...
Using the Student Learning Protocol…

 • Not every practice every day
 • Look for evidence in what students are
   doing
 ...
A tool for use in PLC’s

• Common language, clear target
• A Professional Learning
  Community…what better way to improve
...
PLC’s…collaboration? Talking about
what?
 • The results suggest that although these types of
   organizational reforms may...
A four year study in a district

• Developing Communities of
  Instructional Practice
  by Jonathan Supovitz
• About a fou...
Effective communities of learners…

• First, effective communities prepare for
  instruction collaboratively, taking
  adv...
Effective Communities of Learners…

 • Second, community members sometimes
   teach together, often observe each other
   ...
Effective Communities of Learners…

 • Third, communities flexibly and
   purposefully regroup their students to take
   a...
Together…

• A multiplier effect
• A structure, a Professional Learning
  Community
• A tool that provides a target for in...
Resources
• McKinsey & Company. How the Worlds
  Top Performing Systems Come Out On
  Top (2007).
• www.effectiveness.org ...
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"But What are Your PLC's Talking About?"

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Slides from Alison Olzendam's standing-room-only presentation "But What are Your PLC's Talking About?" at the 2009 OSPI Conference.

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"But What are Your PLC's Talking About?"

  1. 1. But What are Your PLC’s Talking About? January 7, 2009 Leadership Innovations Team Alison Olzendam, Ph. D. alison@leadershipinnovationsteam.com
  2. 2. Targets for today • Know and understand the research behind effective teaching practices • Understand why a PLC is powerful • Know how to provide data driven staff development
  3. 3. Operating principles for today • Safe learning environment • No learners can opt out • No wrong answers • Model, not mandate!
  4. 4. Strategy we will use today • Find a partner for each of the following: • Rock N Roll • Disco • Latin
  5. 5. Why an instructional focus? Why leadership? Marzano Scenario Percentile Entering Percentile Leaving Average School / Average 50 50 Teacher Highly Ineffective School / 50 3 Ineffective Teacher Highly Effective School / 50 34 Ineffective Teacher Ineffective School / Highly 50 63 Effective Teacher Highly Effective School / 50 96 Highly Effective Teacher Highly Effective School / 50 78 Average Teacher
  6. 6. Why Collaborate in PLC’s? Factors Affecting Student Achievement School Factors •Guaranteed & Viable Curriculum •Challenging goals and effective feedback •Parent & community involvement •Safe and orderly environment •Collegiality and professionalism Teacher Factors •Classroom curriculum design •Instructional Strategies •Classroom management Marzano “What Works n Schools”
  7. 7. Why Collaborate in PLC’s? Schools with strong Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) are 4 times more likely to be improving academically than schools with weaker professional communities. Kappan “School Reform and Professional Development” Lewis, Anne.
  8. 8. 1. What conclusions can you make? 2. What are you curious about? Grade 10, Writing 1999 100 Percent Meeting Standard 80 60 40 20 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent Low Income (Free or Reduced Lunch)
  9. 9. Rock n Roll over to that partner • Scatterplots. • How do you explain the differences between the two slides?
  10. 10. Effective Staff Development? • Think of a training that was effective in changing your practice • What were the elements of that training that made the difference? • Write them down • Disco on over • Share them with your partner
  11. 11. Effective School…Effective Teacher • How do teachers improve practice? • Staff Development • What staff development activities have the greatest impact?
  12. 12. Professional Development Processes: Impact and Use
  13. 13. Why a focus on instruction? • “The top performing school systems recognize that the only way to improve outcomes is to improve instruction” • McKinsey & Company. How the Worlds Top Performing Systems Come Out On Top (2007)
  14. 14. So how do students learn best? • Instruction that works for all students • How People Learn • Project-National Research Council • Funded by US Department of Education office of Educational Research and Improvement • Research based messages that are clear and directly relevant to classroom practice
  15. 15. Research: How People Learn You have 20 minutes. Jigsaw “How People Learn.” Groups of 4-similar roles 1-page 15 #1 2-page 16, #2 3-page 17, #3 4-page 18 Bringing Order, to page 19 Read to yourself first. You will then teach your section to the group. Underline, etc. What are the implications for your work? Be ready to discuss.
  16. 16. Looking at the Research How People Learn – Key Findings • Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. • To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must have opportunities to learn with understanding. • A “metacognitive” approach to instruction can help students learn to take control of their own learning.
  17. 17. How People Learn • Adults are people too! • Dance over to your Latin partner • Read the last page of Chapter 2 of How People Learn
  18. 18. Share your staff development training With your partner discuss which elements were present: Learner centered? Knowledge centered? Assessment centered? Community centered?
  19. 19. If instruction is the key, and PLC’s are the structure • How do we talk about instruction? • An instructional Protocol • Provides a common language and a clear target • The first instructional protocol? • We use The Student Learning Protocol • “The Essential Practices of High Quality Teaching and Learning” MacGregor
  20. 20. What an instructional framework is NOT… • Intended to be used for evaluation • A silver bullet • It will not be the tool, but how teachers utilize it that will make the difference • A program, a new thing to add to already overloaded teachers • Teachers already talk about instruction • This tool provides clarity and focus
  21. 21. Two powerful tools for teachers: • A structure that allows them to talk to each other and share knowledge • Professional Learning Communities, Critical Friends, etc. • And a way to talk to each other, an instructional framework or protocol • Provides a common language and clear target
  22. 22. THE GOAL! • To turn over the ownership of student achievement to those that have the greatest impact… • Teachers! • And then support them.
  23. 23. Charlotte Danielson • When teachers use the same framework, they improve communication because they’re using the same set of concepts and terms to describe phenomena. In addition, by using the framework, they can be sure that the areas chosen for improvement are truly those most in need of work.
  24. 24. Using the Student Learning Protocol… • Not every practice every day • Look for evidence in what students are doing • Page for reflection
  25. 25. A tool for use in PLC’s • Common language, clear target • A Professional Learning Community…what better way to improve practice than with other experts? • Teacher factor…school factor
  26. 26. PLC’s…collaboration? Talking about what? • The results suggest that although these types of organizational reforms may succeed in improving the culture within which teachers teach, they alone are unlikely to improve instruction and student learning. The communities that develop are often not communities engaged in instructional improvement (Supovitz, 2002). • It is clearly not enough for teachers just to collaborate; there needs to be a focus on instructional practice and an intentional structure for observation and dialogue
  27. 27. A four year study in a district • Developing Communities of Instructional Practice by Jonathan Supovitz • About a fourth of the time Professional Learning Communities made an impact on student achievement.
  28. 28. Effective communities of learners… • First, effective communities prepare for instruction collaboratively, taking advantage of preparation as a learning opportunity. They examine and discuss student work in relation to standards and how it is differentially produced through a variety of instructional approaches.
  29. 29. Effective Communities of Learners… • Second, community members sometimes teach together, often observe each other in the act of teaching, and always feel safe in doing so. Based on these common experiences, they offer constructive criticism of each other’s strategies.
  30. 30. Effective Communities of Learners… • Third, communities flexibly and purposefully regroup their students to take advantage of both the strengths of team members and the advantages of small student groups for particular instructional purposes.
  31. 31. Together… • A multiplier effect • A structure, a Professional Learning Community • A tool that provides a target for instruction • A survey that gives direction to instructional teams • Adults don’t argue with their own data!
  32. 32. Resources • McKinsey & Company. How the Worlds Top Performing Systems Come Out On Top (2007). • www.effectiveness.org The Essential Practices of High Quality Teaching and Learning. MacGregor • Marzano, R. What Works in Schools. • www.nsdc.org Graham, Ferriter. One Step at a Time. Summer 2008, Vol 29 No. 3

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