Angela De Palma
Posted Mar 1, 2015
Professional learning community, collaborative learning community, professional learning group, communities of practice. Different terms, same idea – teachers coming together to learn and develop their practice. The October 2007 edition of the Ministry of Education of Ontario’s excellent Capacity Building Series from the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat includes a quote from Judith Little as a means of clarifying what would have been a relatively new proposal: “Improved student learning and teaching result when teachers collaboratively focus on achievement and assessment, questioning practice, and supporting professional growth.” The monograph recommends a specific model for Ontario schools as part of its School Effectiveness Framework, encouraging the practice as a school-based activity.
More than seven years later, I wonder if a subsequent monograph might be composed slightly differently. I question this because of my decision (and encouragement from– thanks @rainebo) to dip my toes into the world of hashtags and characters in the 140 range – Twitter. Admittedly still very green in the Twittersphere, I am humbled by and impressed with the amount of professional learning readily available and easily accessible on the social networking service. Homework debate? Input from teachers, parents and students for your consideration. Coding for kindergarten students? Guidelines offered. Next steps to take following a reading diagnostic? Webinar scheduled. You get the idea. Can a PLC of 2015 include TLCs, Twitter Learning Communities? I dare you to say no.
If like many Ontarians, you were avoiding consistent temperatures with the dash before the digit, your indoor activity this past weekend may have included reading the March issue (currently the Dec 2014 is still the most recent posted online) of Professionally Speaking, which contains a feature about two Ottawa-based teachers hosting monthly chats on a range of education topics (p. 22). Perhaps you were too busy following @ONedchat? Or maybe you also read about Toronto teachers who hosted a hackathon for high school students (p. 52). Want to know more? Try following them on Twitter. Not quite ready? These resources from OTF and Edudemic can help you embark on your own #TLC.