Professional Learning Community: Norms, Strategies, and Approaches

Norms for the Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are the groups of individuals who agree to conduct meetings with a certain educational purpose. PLCs are based on norms, which define all the aspects of their functioning. Explicit team norms assist in the group’s emotional intelligence creating and significantly contribute to a sense of group identity obtaining and efficiency of the process increasing. Common norms consider such nuances as time and place of meetings, listening rules, the confidentiality of meetings, decision-making process, participation rules, and expectations from members.

Strategies to Resolve Conflict

Strategies to resolve conflict in a single grade level Professional Learning Community are defined within decision-making norms. It is possible to outline several strategies, which can be implemented to resolve existent and potential conflicts. The use of clarification questions to express ideas can reduce misunderstanding and the probability of conflict. The second strategy is to engage members in consensus-building exercises. It implies the creation of personal lists of activities members believe can improve teaching, with a further expression of methods to construct these activities. It enables us to distinguish differences in opinions and negotiate consensus.

How to encourage shared decision making and communication strategies

Shared decision-making and communication strategies can be listed in such norms as decision making, listening, participation, and expectations. Providing clear feedback from a teacher and other members can improve the performance of participants, increase engagement, and improve the culture of collaboration. The other strategy is the use of teams, composed of members with defined roles, such as facilitator, team leader, recorder, norm managed, visualizer, encourager, and negativity eliminator. It will significantly benefit the collaboration and communication, as it makes participants follow a pattern and interact. Simultaneously, this strategy will assist shared decision-making as members are obliged to decide collectively based on their roles and consider other participants’ points of view.

How Teachers will use Walkthroughs as a Strategy for Continuous Improvement

Walkthroughs are a practice, which is intended to begin the cycle of improvement by considering the effects of instruction, which is different from assessing. It enables us to observe the influence of the delivered program on students. Walkthroughs are based on observing certain instructional practices implemented in classrooms by the teacher and receiving feedback from leaders of teams. Being a part of a cycle of improvement, they are responsible for data gathering, which assists in determining where the progress is in the way to desired outcomes. Evidence of student engagement collected through walkthroughs is based on materials from state assessments, classroom work, district benchmarks, and teacher professional knowledge.

A Walkthrough Instrument

Walkthroughs require a tool to ensure the correct gathering of evidence of engagement. The walkthrough instrument is PLC walkthrough Feedback form, which would enable students to question students appropriately and collect feedback effectively. The implementation of the tool is complemented with regular meetings with each team, at least once per month. The intention of meetings is to review student data, gather feedback through the form, and monitor the improvements by means of observing and outcomes assessing. The walkthrough instrument is a part of a cycle of improvement and is followed by hypothesizing, implementing actions, reflection, next steps taken. According to the mentioned stages, the efforts are expected to meet the desired future through constant professional development. By definition, the practice is intended to coincide with the School Strategic Plan and key priorities determined.

The Different Types of Study Groups

Two distinct types of study groups can be allocated to ensure the comprehensive implementation of every participant’s skills and consistently improve communication, collaboration, knowledge, and decision-making process. The first type is a study group that consists of 5-20 members, which do not have specified roles. The performance of the group is based on seven norms of collaboration and principles of equity. This group enables participants to think independently and promotes communication in the process of learning. The second type is a study group, within which members have assigned roles. It enhances the interactions between members and enables them to focus on a particular part of the work. This type of study group facilitates the development of personal contribution significance realization.


Professional Learning Community: Handbook. (2010). Office of Learning Support Services: JS Morton District 201. Web.

Professional Learning Community: PlC Handbook. (n.d.). Cicero District 99. Web.

Davidson, A-L., Naffi, N., & Raby, C. (2017). A PCP approach to conflict resolution in learning communities. Personal Construct Theory & Practice, 14, 61–72. Web.

Cervone, L., & Martinez-Miller, P. (2007). Classroom Walkthroughs as a Catalyst for School Improvement. Leadership Compass, 4(4), 1–4. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "Professional Learning Community: Norms, Strategies, and Approaches." September 11, 2023.