In response to the 6/16/2011 post, “More on PLC’s – Part 1,” a reader writes: I couldn’t disagree with the writer more…You have missed the point of PLC’s. Because accountability is moving so fast you can’t NOT to embrace PLC’s. It is about creating a culture of professional collaboration to improve practice. The Fundamental Five alone will never give you that. Therefore it is LESS efficient or effective, sans a PLC or some form thereof. Quality teaching is a profession not a trade. It requires teamwork with professional “talk” beyond a series of basic discrete steps, a la the Fundamental Five or Foundation Trinity. The Foundation Trinity alone is merely a recipe to follow without a PLC to “move” the teachers; a PLC allows the Foundation Trinity to become gospel and the Fundamental Five the bible when teachers convene regularly to study their practice. SC Response I don’t see a lot of disagreement in the previous post and yours. I see the main area of contention to be timing. Obviously, you are correct in your position that teaching is a profession, not a trade. However, if the culture and practice of a staff has been that of tradesmen (tradespeople?), the move to professionalism requires time, support, and specific direction. A PLC does not spring up due to wishes and good intentions. So with both of us agreeing that the end state must be a functioning, reflective, student focused PLC, how does one go about cultivating one in the most effective and efficient way possible? This is where the true value of the Foundation Trinity and Fundamental Five resides. As you state, the Foundation Trinity alone is merely a recipe. But it is the recipe the focuses the brainpower of the organization solely on the expansion of student opportunity. Just because I recognize flour, eggs, sugar and milk doesn’t mean that I am a master chef or can even bake a cake. But the longer I practice, share, and reflect on my success at following the recipe, the better I get at it. What this means from a practical standpoint is that until you get the organization using same ingredients and following the same recipe, spending a significant amount of time talking about how to cook better is an empty exercise. And to have the organization talk about something other than cooking as a precursor to “cooking talk,” is simply demeaning and waste of precious time and resources. So to leave my cooking metaphor in the kitchen, what this means in the field is that you begin with the Foundation Trinity, often with very little discussion. As the staff goes though the motions of executing the trinity, they begin to develop insights on what the trinity is telling them. At that point Leadership has to carve out time and facilitate the discussions and insights that are driven by focused execution. The PLC develops and grows as the capacity of the staff develops and grows. This is the fatal flaw of those attempting to implement a PLC where one has never existed before. One sees functioning PLC’s and think, “Well how hard can that be? They are smart, we are smart. They get along, we get along. They like kids, we like kids. We will do this to.” If only it was that easy. Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn… Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com! http://tinyurl.com/4ydqd4t A Central Texas School District is searching for an Assistant Superintendent. Application details at www.LeadYourSchool.com Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation

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