Sep 3, 2013

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My PLC Just Formed… Now What?

PLCs

“PLC” (Personal Learning Community) has become a popular educational buzzword in the last few years. Teachers of the same subject, including art teachers, are expected to work together to create joint lesson plans and common assessments.

If you have been asked to form a PLC at your school, collaborating with other art teachers can be an exciting yet daunting task. Having questions about how your team will get along and if you’ll be able to work together is common, however, understanding the stages that all new teams experience can be helpful. These stages are based on a model of group development first proposed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Here’s a look at the four stages your team can expect to face as your PLC takes shape.

Forming
Your group just met. The exchange is mostly pleasant as you discuss high level ideas for the group such as meeting times and possible goals. However, roles have yet to be established. This is a time of excitement but also can be filled with anxiety.

Storming
The forming stage can be like a honeymoon phase and can be over fairly quickly. The storming stage, as the name suggests, can be unpleasant. Art teachers have strong opinions about methods and theories of art and teaching. Concepts and ideas are challenged, putting some group members on the defensive. It is at this point that teams fail. It is important to realize it is just a phase. Stick it out.

Norming
Eventually, your team weathers the storm and things start to normalize. Roles and responsibilities become established and rules of engagement are developed.

Performing
This stage is marked by high productivity. Your team finally reaches the place you want to be. You’re writing joint lesson plans, common assessments and working towards other established goals.

Understanding these four stages and which stage your PLC is in can lessen some of the anxiety of forming a PLC. Know that if you work through the storm, your team will come out performing like a champ. Check out our PD Paks for even more resources for your PLC!
 

What have been your experiences with PLCs? 

What stage do you feel your PLC is at? 

Do you have any advice for teams in the Storming stage? 

 

 

IanThis article was written by AOE Team member Ian Sands. Ian is the incredibly creative HS Art Teacher from Apex High in North Carolina. Ian is originally from NYC where he received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts.

About Ian | Ian’s Articles

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  • Martha

    PLC’s are something that my school is undertaking, which puts me in an interesting position because I am the only art teacher. Although it is easy to come to unanimous decisions, I do crave that professional collaboration from time to time.

  • Jorena

    I find PLCs awkward since I am the only art teacher at my school. For 2 years now I have campaigned for all of the elementary schools in my county to adopt the same PLC day each month so I can meet with the other art teachers, music can meet with music, PE with PE etc. Administrators think it’s a great idea, but each year when the schedules come out ppfftt! I’ve tried to get the elementary art teachers to meet on our own, but it never works out, someone always has an appointment after school etc. Theartofed.com is the closest thing I have to a PLC right now.

  • laura j

    If you are the only art teacher at your school, it can be really helpful to find a personal learning network online. Finding the online ning asia region art educators a few years ago was a lifesaver in terms of finding new ideas and resources!
    Laura
    http://www.artroomonline.com

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