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Teacher Leadership

The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition

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Edited By Eleanor Blair

Teacher leadership as a dimension of teachers’ work has never been more important. This topic has emerged as a major component of both state and national standards, and as such, it is included in most contemporary teacher education programs. Three decades of research have focused on teacher leadership as an essential element of school improvement, but its relationship to the potential transformation of the teaching profession remains unexplored. This revised edition of Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education provides an overview of the scholarship being done in the field and a framework for questions and discussions regarding the sustainability of teacher leadership efforts. In this edition, each of the five sections is accompanied by an introduction and reflection questions on the various issues related to teachers acting as leaders in classrooms, schools and communities. The book opens with a completely new section that presents scholarship related to teacher leadership and social justice, where the role of ideology in the work of teacher leaders is considered. This book includes the work of over thirty authors and is an essential tool for guiding dialogue regarding the various facets of teacher leadership and its impact on school culture, student learning and professional learning communities within the context of twenty-first century school reform. Teacher Leadership: The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader is intended for undergraduate and graduate education students.
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16. Professional Learning Communities: A Bandwagon, an Idea Worth Considering or Our Best Hope for High Levels of Learning?

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CHAPTER 16



Professional Learning Communities

A Bandwagon, an Idea Worth Considering or Our Best Hope for High Levels of Learning?

Richard DuFour

It should surprise no one that there are faculties throughout North America that refer to themselves as professional learning communities (PLCs) yet do none of the things that PLCs do. Conversely, there are faculties that could serve as model PLCs that may never reference the term. A school does not become a PLC by enrolling in a program, renaming existing practices, taking the PLC pledge, or learning the secret PLC handshake. A school becomes a professional learning community only when the educators within it align their practices with PLC concepts. Therefore, any valid assessment of the impact of PLC concepts on a school or the compatibility of those concepts with the middle school model would first need to determine if PLC practices were actually in place in the school. Only then would it be possible to determine the impact of those practices on the learning of both students and adults.

The May 2006 issue of the Middle School Journal included the article “Learning Communities in 6–8 Middle Schools: Natural Complements or Another Bandwagon in the Parade” (Patterson & co-contributors, 2006). The authors based the article on interviews and surveys of the staff members of two middle schools that considered themselves to be in the very early stages of implementing professional learning community...

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