Professional Learning

Professional Learning at JIS is an intentional process embedded in a culture of collaboration and professional enquiry with a focus on student learning.

As outlined in the Ends Policy, JIS faculty are expert practitioners who continuously engage in a professional learning community to enable each child to produce quality work. Consistent with the Ends Policy the Professional Learning Program provides strategies and opportunities that build both individual and collective professional growth. The Professional Learning program respects the unique learning needs of the faculty and takes advantage of the best available thinkers and practitioners.

A Professional Learning Community-Learning Teams

Professional Learning Communities are described by DuFour and Eaker [1998, 2004] and Garmston and Wellmann [1999]. A Professional Learning Community is built around:

  • Shared norms and values
  • A Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
  • A Collective Focus on Student Learning
  • Collaboration
  • De-privatized practice [An open and sharing culture]
  • Reflective Dialogue

The Big Ideas of a PLC

  • We accept learning as the fundamental purpose of our school and therefore are willing to examine all practices in light of their impact on learning.
  • We are committed to working together to achieve our collective purpose. We cultivate a collaborative culture through development of highperforming teams.
  • We assess our effectiveness on the basis of results rather than intentions. Individuals, teams, and schools seek relevant information and use that information to promote continuous improvement.

An essential feature of these communities of practice is Professional Learning Teams. The aim of the Professional Learning team is to provide classroom based professional learning and dialogue. The learning team concept allows faculty to tap the rich expertise of colleagues and target specific learning needs and priorities. We know that the conversations teachers have with one another around their practice can lead to creative and inventive transformations in the classroom [Clark 2001] and provide meaningful support for the implementation of new learning.

Professional Learning Teams meet on an ongoing-regular basis, analyze student learning data and set goals which include expected results on student learning. Relevant reading in this area includes: Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work [Dufour, Eaker and Many, 2006] and Dufour and Eaker [1998] Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement