Professional Learning Communities: Communities of Continuous Inquiry and Improvement

Picture of Publication Cover

Author: Shirley M. Hord

Product ID: CHA-34 Price: Available free online
• Published: 1997    • 68 pages   

Available online: Full text, PDF

The term Learning Community appears more often in the language of American educators. Some see it as extending classroom practices into the community, utilizing community resources, both material and human. For others, it suggests bringing community personnel into the school to enhance the curriculum and learning tasks for students. And for many, a learning community includes students, teachers, and administrators reciprocally engaged in learning.

Professional Learning Communities includes stories and reports of research on how school professional staff - teachers and principals - organize as a learning community. It summarizes what professional learning communities look like and how they operate. It identifies the outcomes for staff and students when educators organize a learning community within a school. The publication discusses the attributes of professional learning communities:

  • Supportive and shared leadership
  • Collective creativity
  • Shared values and vision
  • Supportive conditions (physical and personal)
  • Shared personal practice and what is known about how to create professional learning communities in schools.

This publication will help you understand professional learning communities and what happens when a school staff studies, works, plans, and takes action collectively on behalf of increased learning for students.

SEDL has published several publications about Professional Learning Communities: