Effective Professional Learning Communities
The Effective Professional Learning Communities project was a study of effective professional learning communities in schools and of how they are created and sustained. It is an exciting, new, collaborative venture between the Universities of Bristol and Bath and the Institute of Education, University of London, which is funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), General Teaching Council for England (GTC) and the National College for School Leadership (NCSL)
Taking place from January 2002 to October 2004, it examined for the first time in this country:
- what a professional learning community is;
- what makes it effective;
- how such a community is created and sustained.
While definitions of what constitutes a professional learning community vary, international research suggests that they are characterised by:
- shared values and vision
- collective responsibility for pupils' learning
- reflective professional inquiry
- the promotion of group, as well as individual, learning.
Our working definition is:
An effective professional learning community has the capacity to promote and sustain the learning of all professionals in the school community with the collective purpose of enhancing pupil learning.
Our broad aims are to identify and provide practical examples of:
- the characteristics of professional learning communities in different kinds of schools;
- key factors inside and outside schools which seem to help or hinder the development of learning communities;
- innovative practices for ongoing professional learning and development
During the course of the project we hope to generate models of different types and developmental stages of learning communities and to disseminate our findings to practitioners.