Why PLCs

Use these resources to explore the ideas expressed in .


  •  : Continuous Learning and Improvement - Outcomes of professional learning communities for students and staff. This classic study done in the 90’s is a well-documented
    research -driven perspective on the positive impact of PLCs.
  • : From Feckless Reform to Substantive -  Schmoker looks at past practice and the variety of interpretations of what have been called PLCs and explores what makes well-planned PLCs effective.
  • - Richard Dufour looks at the challenges schools have with taking on new initiatives (like PLC) without really planning for them.
  • - Explores how 6 urban districts used Professional Learning Communities as the engine towards school reform.
  • - Many PLCs are begun by teacher initiative. Their growth is dependent on administrative support.
  • - This classic article from Roland Barth is a short window into some really hard questions about what we say about our school culture—and what we really think.


  • - This is a great entry-level protocol that is very specific in actions and facilitation. It can be modified to fewer minutes for individuals to respond (from maximum 3 minutes) depending on time. After the group reads the text silently (or has done so previously and just reviews at the session) and marks the text,  each member starts a "round"  where she or he lets the group know which sentence or passage she/he will share (“On page 2, second paragraph third sentence”) and then reads it aloud then follows Step 2 (Why she/he chose this to read) and Step 3 (How this piece of chosen text relates to his or her work) and then the group has an open conversation sticking to what  they heard the sharing member say—not what they THINK about the passage themselves. Then it’s the next person’s turn. Don’t forget to debrief the process! MS Word; PDF
  • - Similar to Three Levels of Text, this is another very clear, step by step protocol that is structured to allow each voice to be heard and to easily focus on the issue at hand. The purpose of this discussion format is to give each person in the group an opportunity to have their ideas, understandings, and perspective enhanced by hearing from others. With this format, the group can explore an article, clarify their thinking, and have their assumptions and beliefs questioned in order to gain a deeper understanding of the guiding question.
  • - A protocol that allows for participants to engage in a topic, reflect, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects or solve problems.  This protocol is done in silence and allows for great equity of voice.