Creating a Climate for Learning
What kind of conversations are you having in your PLC?
According to Nelson et al (2010), staff should avoid conversations that are ‘superficially focused on sharing stories of practice’. Instead, staff should seek to [have] collegial dialogues which would offer a more incisive look into the actual teaching and learning (Nelson et al, 2010). They found that congenial school culture tends to ‘preserve the status quo’ rather than encourage ‘more critical questions’ that ‘probe into the nature of what students learn as a result of specific instructional practices’ (Nelson et al, 2010).
A collaborative culture, on the other hand, involves staff ‘working together to realise shared goals’. A sense of ‘collegiality’ is crucial for developing a cooperative ‘relationship’ among staff (Daleman, 2012).
The purpose of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) is to build a collaborative culture essential for better student outcomes. Within this environment, the school may delve more deeply into pedagogical practices that have the most significant impact on student learning. According to Hipp and Huffman, 2010, such a non-threatening learning environment gets staff to come together as learners. As collegial relationships develop, this fosters a climate for learning.
- feel more comfortable with one another when voicing their differing opinions as they work towards shared goals in teaching and learning within their Professional Learning Teams (PLTs),
- be more willing to step out of their comfort zones to learn from one another, and
- experiment with new teaching practices as they are comfortable in the knowledge that they have strong peer support.
Woodgrove Secondary teachers at Mother Tongue PLT sharing