Skip to main content

You are here

Professional Learning Community

Thursday, 13 October, 2016

For the past few years we have been hearing a lot in educational circles about Professional Learning Communities. What are they? A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is, in our case, a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students.

PLCs entail whole-staff involvement in a process of intensive reflection upon instructional practices and desired student benchmarks, as well as monitoring of outcomes to ensure success. PLCs enable teachers to continually learn from one another via shared visioning and planning, as well as in-depth critical examination of what does and doesn’t work to enhance student achievement.

An excellent means of professional growth for our educators is by becoming part of a PLC or even by starting one. BBIS has embraced the notion enthusiastically and many staff have registered for online courses which will provide a framework for the PLC. Some have already commenced and others will commence in February.

At the IBDP / CP faculty meeting in September, teachers contributed their ideas for PLCs. These were considered at a subsequent Management Team meeting and it was recommended that, for the time being, five be developed. At the faculty meeting this week, teachers joined a group centred around one of these potential PLCs and developed them further. This is an ongoing process and will form part of the focus of faculty work for the next couple of months. In addition, several Thursday afternoon meeting times over the course of the year will be devoted to this work. It is envisaged that some of these PLCs, at least, will be offered in the second half of this academic year.

The ‘evolving’ PLCs are:

Do We Flop if We Flip?: Leveraging Technology in the Classroom

  • Assessing the use of IT;
  • Sharing of effective software to enhance learning;
  • Investigating the Flipped Classroom;
  • Managing BYOD
  • What are the most effective uses of IT in different classroom settings?
  • How is modern technology changing the way our students learn, socialise and navigate the world?
  • What new technology do we not yet have at BBIS that might enhance teaching and learning?

Service Learning: Using Academic Knowledge and Skills to Address Genuine Community Needs.

  • Ensuring that service grows out of and returns to the curriculum rather than being a ‘stand alone’
  • Developing practical IDUs which bring the classroom out into the community at large and thus build partnerships and promote civic engagement;
  • Setting up links in the community

Inclusion with an Emphasis on Language

  • Examining and addressing the challenges of classroom language use for EAL students and students generally
  • Creating a set of resources with basic vocabulary / glossary and instructions used in each subject (subject-specific language)
  • Examining how to assess a student’s knowledge in a specific subject, rather than focusing on understanding of the instructions in English.
  • Playing an active role in EAL support

Can We Break the Bonds of the Victorian Industrial Educational Model?

  • Are there options for more flexibility versus rigid systems like syllabi, time tables, routines in school?
  • Can we be flexible, even with an external examination system?
  • Theory vs. practice: What do we teach according to our programmes and what does real life at BBIS look like, e.g. concerning sustainability

All Teachers are TOK Teachers

  • How can we enhance the joy of reading among secondary MYP, DP and CP students?
  • How can we build meaningful bridges between subjects and departments as possible platforms for interdisciplinary units?
  • How can we corroborate the concept that school is a launch pad for life, not just a place to get good grades?

First steps with Making Thinking Visible

Intended participants: teachers from any section of the school. This will be a follow-up to Mark Church’s (Project Zero, Harvard) summer workshops in August 2015 and 2016. Also intended for teachers who did not do the summer workshop.