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  • Professional Learning Communities: PLCs provide a systematic process in which teachers work together in teams to analyze and improve their “problems of practice” engaging in an ongoing cycle of questions that promote deep team learning. Their collaborative conversations require team members to make goals, strategies, materials, questions, concerns, and results public, and to maintain a focus on improved student outcomes.(http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/teach_learn/images/plc_article.pdf

 

  • Instructional Rounds: The primary purpose of Instructional Rounds is for teachers to observe and compare their own instructional practices with those of their fellow teachers. The chief benefit of this approach resides in the discussion that takes place among observing teachers at the end of the observation as well as in subsequent self-reflection. (http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb11/vol68/num05/Making-the-Most-of-Instructional-Rounds.aspx) It is within this space of discussion and self-reflection that teachers come to identify the assumptions that influence their instructional decisions, and areas for improvement in their classroom practice. 
     

  • Edcamp: The Edcamp model is growing in popularity, demonstrating that teachers will rise to the occasion when trusted to be collaborative and proactive in their own professional learning.  Edcamps are free; usually one-day events, topically and geographically centered (although with technology can be done with educators around the globe), and organized by the participants themselves. Edcamp “brings together teachers and administrators and promotes learning through an organic, participant-driven experience where educators drive the agenda of their own learning, providing an alternative to traditional professional development. (www.edcamp.org)
     

  • Coaching: There are a number of coaching models and not enough space in this post to give an accurate description of each one.  In general, Coaching is characterized by trust, open and honest conversation, skilled questioning and deep listening, sincere reflection, and feedback, requiring a mutually respectful relationship with a mentor or experienced peer.  As a professional development experience, coaching provides the personal, ongoing, job-embedded support necessary to improve teacher practice. For a more in-depth discussion of coaching see (Insert link to Kelly’s blog here).