Saturday, June 29, 2013

Everything I Know About Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) I Learned in Little League

My first experience with organized sports took place on a rundown baseball diamond behind an old church in Johnston, Rhode Island.  I was part of a league that consisted of only four teams that weren’t very good but were coached well, played hard, and had a lot of fun.  More than three decades later I still look back on those glory days of my youth and recognize that the lessons I learned on that field went far beyond how to turn a double play and when to hit the cut off. 
I have had the good fortune of being a part of many professional learning communities over the past twenty years, and the best ones remind me of my first baseball team in many ways.
With that in mind, next time you find yourself at a little league field watching the players swing for the fences and round the bases, perhaps it’s not the next group of major league prospects you should be looking for but rather the next generation of educational leaders.

The best hitter on the team practiced his swing by hitting balls off a tee into a fence every day
The most effective educators are the ones who continually look for ways to improve their practice.

Before games and practices, a player volunteered to lead us in our stretching exercises
Professional Learning Communities are made up of individuals willing to take on added responsibilities

The players were responsible for the care and maintenance of the field and the equipment
In addition to the physical plant, attention paid to the school or district’s mission and vision will impact teaching and learning  

While sitting in the dugout, we cheered on our teammates
Entire staffs need to support and celebrate the accomplishments of its learners

When players committed fielding errors, excuses were never allowed
Professional educators are accountable for the teaching and learning happening in their schools

Drills and practices focused on things that happened during the previous game
In order to grow professionally, teachers and administrators must be reflective practitioners

When a fly ball was hit, we always called for it
Educators know the importance of communication

Keeping an accurate scorebook was expected
Documentation and data collection are an essential component of any professional learning community

We always looked for the signs from the third base coach
Formative assessments provide information that can be used to inform instruction

Our coach insisted we watch the best teams in the league play their games
Peer observations will make us better at what we do


Anonymous said...

Very well thought out! Awesome new design, love it!

Jessie said...

Great post with relevant connections! This one "hit" home with me :)