This page provides further research and background on Professional Learning Communities.

The PLC model has developed over several decades in multiple professions, and continues to evolve. Definitions and guidelines for effective collaboration continue to emerge in the literature. For simplicity and clarity, we suggest that we are inProfessional Learning Community if our work meets the following common research-based criteria:

  • Student-Learning Focused
  • Teacher/Educator-Initiated Interventions
  • Administrator-Supported &Guided
  • Inquiry based & Data-driven
  • Recognizing and celebrating learner successes
  • Shared School and district wide  (Leah Taylor 2013)

 Understanding the Promise and Processes of PLCs:

Research and Articles from other Provinces/Countries

Professional Learning Communities: An Exploration. (2006, InPraxis Inc., Alberta Education;) This is a truly comprehensive collection of research and literature showing the benefits, structures, attributes and best practices found in the most effective and impactful PLCs. Compiled by a team of educational researchers, it is full of helpful guides, templates and consistent criteria of what supports successful PLCs.

PLC Article: Promoting Collaborative Learning Cultures: Putting the Promise into Practice. (Spring 2010, Ideas into Action for School and System Leaders, Bulletin #3). This paper provides rich resources, references, and a cohesive synopsis of factors that support effective Professional Collaborative Learning (PLC) strategies, but also speaks of the next level: shifting to Networked Learning Communities (NLC) once school PLCs are well established (Ontario based).

Teacher Learning Communities – a Policy Research Brief by National Council of Teachers of English.(Council Chronicle, Nov 2010, An exploration of the benefits and “myths” of teacher collaborative communities.

PLC Article: From British Columbia University Living and Learning in a SmartBoard World. SEE: Chapter Thirteen: Why Learning in a Community is Necessary and Not Just Nice.  By Erickson, G., Naylor, C., Clarke, A. & the Livingstone Inquiry Group (Eds.) (2011) Living and Learning in a Smartboard World. Vancouver, BC: Center for the Study of Teacher Education – UBC. 

PLC related Paper: From Judy Halbert, Linda Kaser & Debbie Koehn at the ICSEI 2011, Limassol, Cyprus symposium entitled: What is Inquiry and How Does it Work? Examining Linkages in Assessment, Leadership, Teacher and Student Inquiry Ref # 0053 January 6 2011. Accessed June 2014 from “This paper represents part of an emerging set of perspectives on inquiry examining the linkages among assessment, leadership, student and teacher learning” (Halbert, et al, p. 1).

PLC Article: From Finland OECD School Leadership for Systemic Improvement in Finland: A case study report for the OECD. Improving School Leadership. Finland. An OECD study examining the key components for school and district improvement, with a focus on PLCs in Finland.  By Andrew Hargreaves, Gábor Halász & Beatriz Pont, (December 2007)

PLC Article: From Nova ScotiaReport and Recommendations of the Education Professional Development Committee (2009). Recommends PLCs for school improvement with multiple references to the benefits (to students, school and teachers) of PLCs in Nova Scotia.

PLC Article: From Ontario – Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda. Ontario’s School improvement goals 2013 with relevant examples of how PLC/collaboration supports student engagement and achievement, and where ON hopes to take education next. By Professor and PLC author Michael Fullan. (2012)

PLC Article: From the UK – Working Laterally: How innovation networks make an education epidemic. Teachers transforming teaching (2003) by David H. Hargreaves. How Innovation Networks (PLCs) improve teacher practice and student learning. 

Using a Quality Learning Environment to Integrate Multiple Initiatives. How one district utilized PLC strategies to develop a Quality Learning Environment (QLE) that integrated multiple initiatives. This 6-page Research brief by Lissa Steele emphasizes the benefits of a “side-by-side” approach to developing a school’s vision, mission, values and identifying and choosing among themes/initiatives brought forth by all stakeholders – thus avoiding both a “top down” feeling and a sense of “overwhelm” from too many projects. An excellent example of an effective PLC process that made a difference to learners on all levels.