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Bringing Your Learning Community to Life

Bringing Your Learning Community to Life
A Road Map for Sustainable School Improvement

First Edition
Edited by:

April 2010 | 160 pages | Corwin
How can you take the concept of a learning community from theory to the school building? This how-to guide walks you through the process of establishing a PLC step by step over a flexible timeline of nine to twelve months.

Leadership and organizational development specialists Stephen S. Kaagan and Linda Headley provide school and council leaders with a concrete road map and numerous tools for creating and sustaining a PLC focused on improving student learning. Readers will find everything they need to get a PLC up and running, including:

- Specific tasks that help educators "learn by doing" as they create a PLC

- Practice exercises for conducting productive meetings, building individual and group communication skills, and shaping the group's identity

- Brief case studies of problems encountered by educators to spark discussion and support educators' growth as learners and leaders

- Guidelines for appropriately pacing the chapters, tasks, and exercises with your faculty

Bringing Your Learning Community to Life is an invaluable manual for building capacity and carrying out the work of creating an effective, sustainable PLC focused on continuous improvement.

About the Authors
Section I. Laying the Foundation
1. Having Productive Discussions 101: Cultivating Individual Skills

Ten Pillars of Productive Discussion

Interpreting the Pillars

Initial Self-Assessment

Practice Exercises 1-3


2. Having Productive Discussions 102: Cultivating Group Skills

Practice Exercises 1-4

Self-Assessment Reprise

Future Use of the 10 Pillars


Section II. Putting Your New Skills to Work
3. Shaping a Group Identity

Soul Searching via a Careful, Clean, and Crisp Culture Audit

Metaphor, the Path to the Future

Professional Learning Community Attributes

Ground Rules to Accompany the Attributes

Practice Makes Perfect


4. Small Moves Make a Big Difference

Small and Different Moves Elaborated

Moving on the Small Moves

Putting It All Together


5. Sustaining Learning Community Growth

Learning Strategies

The Power of Authentic Learning

Experiential Learning, a Complement to Authentic Learning

A Little Experience, a Lot of Learning Potential

Qualifying Experiences as Authentic

Making the Most of Experience for Learning

Outcome Narratives: Authentic Learning of Choice for Professional Learning Communities

Why Outcome Narratives Work

How Outcome Narratives are Developed and Used

Learning to Walk Before You Run


Additional Exemplary Outcome Narratives

Conclusion: Taking the Leap
Reproducible Resources

"This book is structured for the busy educator! The authors invite readers to journey toward professionalizing learning spaces. From the beginning of the journey (wherever you are) through the high points, low points, midpoint, and endpoint, the reader is converted to the PLC way. A must-read for staff developers, instructional coaches, school improvement coordinators, and human relations specialists."

Marian White-Hood, Director of Academics, See Forever Foundation
Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Washington, DC

“Excellent cases support and clarify each point, and the examples are very true to life and useful to the reader. The timeframes were also very true to life—change does not occur overnight, and the book clearly states this”

Ginnie Drouin, Principal
Alfred Elementary School, ME

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412972970