Professional Learning Clubs (PLC)
A Professional Learning Club is a faculty-led group that meets to collaboratively reflect on and improve their teaching practices and is hosted by TLThd. It involves examining the relationship between teaching practices and student outcomes and then evaluating those practices using the students’ work. These learning clubs will consist of 4-6 faculty who will take the year to explore, implement, and reflect on specific, empirically-grounded instructional strategies.
- Has a focus on improving student learning and student experiences
- Involves collaborative teams
- Engages in collective inquiry into best practice and current reality
- Is action oriented
- Has a commitment to continuous improvement wherein members collectively:
- gather evidence of current levels of student understanding,
- develop strategies and ideas to build on strengths and weaknesses in that learning,
- implement those strategies and ideas,
- analyze the impact of the changes to discover what was effective and what was not
- apply new knowledge in the next cycle of continuous improvement, and
- focus on results aligned with goals for student learning
From Dufour, Dufour, Eaker & Many, “Learning By Doing” (2006, pp. 2-7) a PLC
Anyone who teaches at CofC can participate, however in order to be successful participants must:
- be able to commit to a year-long process.
- teach minimum of one course per semester for that academic year (Fall and Spring).
- not be on sabbatical for either semester.
- have an open mind and be committed to increasing student learning and comprehension through improved teaching – never say “I already do this” or “This is the way I’ve always done it.”
- be open to critical reflection.
Join a PLC because it offers great opportunities to reflect on our teaching, which so many of us struggle to find enough time for! I also really enjoyed the sense of community it provided as we worked together to discuss individual issues we were struggling with in our classes.
The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning encourages us to ask questions about how students learn and how we can help them learn more effectively. It’s not often that faculty have the opportunity to share their teaching successes and struggles with one another. Professional Learning Clubs provide faculty with the much-needed space to reflect on their teaching and collaborate on strategies to enhance student learning.
Also, while pedagogy may not be your primary research focus, the Professional Learning Clubs will give participants the opportunity to collect and analyze data that could be presented at a variety of academic conferences or even published. Scholarly opportunities abound as our extensive list of Journals and Conferences on the Scholarship of Teaching demonstrates.
Still not convinced? Consider the perspective of Associate Professor of Philosophy, John Draeger: “Why Bother with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” page 12.