Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Communities at Work - a practical guide for PLC teams and leadership

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9781935542094: Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Communities at Work - a practical guide for PLC teams and leadership

Finalist--2011 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award

Since the publication of the first edition of Learning by Doing, the authors have made presentations to tens of thousands of educators, served on dozens of panels to answer their questions, worked with several districts on a long-term ongoing basis to assist with their implementation of the professional learning community (PLC) concept, and participated in ongoing dialogue with educators on the allthingsplc.info website. This continuing work with teachers, principals, and central office staff from schools and districts throughout North America has given them a deeper understanding of the challenges educators face as they attempt to implement the professional learning community process in their organizations. This second edition attempts to draw upon that deeper understanding to provide educators with a more powerful tool for moving forward. Like the first edition, the second edition of Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work helps educators close the knowing-doing gap as they transform their schools into professional learning communities (PLCs). This handbook is a guide for action that will: - Help educators develop a common vocabulary and consistent understanding of key PLC concepts. - Present a compelling argument that the implementation of PLC concepts will benefit students and educators alike. - Help educators assess the current reality in their own schools and districts. - Convince educators to take purposeful steps to develop their capacity to function as PLCs. The second edition of Learning by Doing addresses seven critical questions encountered when shifting from a traditional school to a PLC: 1. Why questions. Why should we do this? Can you present a rationale as to why we should engage in this work? Is there evidence that suggests the outcome of this work is desirable, feasible, and more effective than what we have traditionally done? 2. What questions. What are the exact meanings of key terms? What resources, tools, templates, materials, and examples can you provide to assist in our work? 3. How questions. How do we proceed? How do you propose we do this? Is there a preferred process? 4. When questions. When will we find time to do this? When do you expect us to complete the task? What is the timeline? 5. Guiding questions. Which questions are we attempting to answer? Which questions will help us stay focused on the right work? 6. Quality questions. What criteria will be used to judge the quality of our work? What criteria can we use to assess our own work? 7. Assurance questions. What suggestions can you offer to increase the likelihood of our success? What cautions can you alert us to? Where do we turn when we struggle? The second edition of Learning by Doing is specifically designed to provide leaders with the information and resources that they need to answer these questions for each element of the essential work of PLCs.

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About the Author:

Richard DuFour, EdD, was a public school educator for 34 years, serving as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. He served as the principal of Adlai Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, from 1983 to 1991 and as superintendent of the district from 1991 to 2002. During his tenure, Stevenson became what the United States Department of Education (USDE) has described as the most recognized and celebrated school in America. It is one of three schools in the nation to win the USDE Blue Ribbon Award on four occasions and one of the first comprehensive schools designated a New America High School by USDE as a model of successful school reform. Stevenson has been repeatedly cited in the popular press as one of America s best schools and referenced in professional literature as an exemplar of best practices in education. Rebecca DuFour has served as a teacher, school administrator, and central office coordinator. As a former elementary principal, Becky helped her school earn state and national recognition as a model professional learning community. She is one of the featured principals in the Video Journal of Education program Leadership in an Age of Standards and High Stakes (2001). She is also the lead consultant and featured principal for the Video Journal of Education program Elementary Principals as Leaders of Learning (2003). Becky is coauthor of many books and video series on the topic of professional learning communities. Robert Eaker, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also served as dean of the College of Education and interim vice president and provost. Dr. Eaker is a former fellow with the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development. He has written widely on the issues of effective teaching, effective schools, helping teachers use research findings, and high expectations for student achievement. He was cited by Phi Delta Kappan as one of the nation s leaders in helping public school educators translate research into practice. Dr. Eaker was instrumental in the founding of the Tennessee Teachers Hall of Fame and was a regular contributor to the Effective Schools Research Abstracts series. Thomas W. Many, EdD, is superintendent of Kildeer Countryside Community Consolidated School District 96 in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He uses the tenets of the Professional Learning Communities at WorkTM model to ensure students from his district are prepared to enter Adlai E. Stevenson High School, a nationally recognized PLC. In each of his roles superintendent, public speaker, and author he has worked closely with Dr. Richard DuFour, former superintendent of Stevenson and national authority on PLCs. In addition to his extensive experience as superintendent, Dr. Many has served as a classroom teacher, learning center director, curriculum supervisor, principal, and assistant superintendent.

Review:

Learning by Doing is not only the title of an incredibly powerful book, it is also the description of our district s journey over the last five years. Without a doubt, the establishment of PLCs as a district and the deepening of our collaborative culture have had the single greatest impact on student achievement of any of the initiatives we have implemented. It has changed who we are, how we work and, most importantly, our outcomes. Learning by Doing has been our guidebook on the journey and helped us to understand and move from knowing to doing and finally being a professional learning community. I encourage you, read this book and answer the call to action. Once you begin the journey, you will never go back! --Marcus Johnson, superintendent, Sanger Unified School District, Sanger, CA

Our distictwide success in improving student academic achievement has been a remarkable journey. Learning by Doing has been our road atlas and the PLC concept our GPS as our staff members have built their collective capacity to meet the needs of all students. If you are looking for a clearly delineated road map to building a collaborative professional culture and helping all students learn, the second edition of Learning by Doing is one resource you must have. --Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent, Whittier Union High School District, Whittier, CA

As educators, we know what it takes to ensure high levels of learning for every child. Compelling, conclusive research proves professional learning communities create the collaborative culture and structures needed to transform our schools into places where all students and educators can succeed. Our problem is not a lack of understanding about what to do, but rather how to turn what we know into daily practice. Learning by Doing bridges this gap, providing the proven practices and practical tools needed to move an organization from theory to action. Like the bunny in The Velveteen Rabbit, my copy has become real its tattered cover, numerous highlights, and earmarked pages demonstrates that it does not sit on my bookcase, but instead lives where I work each day. It has truly been an indispensable resource. In their second edition, the authors have not merely updated the original, but have expanded and refined their recommendations, including greater clarity on the roles of site and district educators, the potential obstacles to becoming a PLC, and the proven solutions to overcome these setbacks. No matter your role in education, if you want to improve the learning for your students, you need this book. --Mike Mattos, coauthor, Pyramid Response to Intervention

Our distictwide success in improving student academic achievement has been a remarkable journey. Learning by Doing has been our road atlas and the PLC concept our GPS as our staff members have built their collective capacity to meet the needs of all students. If you are looking for a clearly delineated road map to building a collaborative professional culture and helping all students learn, the second edition of Learning by Doing is one resource you must have. --Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent, Whittier Union High School District, Whittier, CA

As educators, we know what it takes to ensure high levels of learning for every child. Compelling, conclusive research proves professional learning communities create the collaborative culture and structures needed to transform our schools into places where all students and educators can succeed. Our problem is not a lack of understanding about what to do, but rather how to turn what we know into daily practice. Learning by Doing bridges this gap, providing the proven practices and practical tools needed to move an organization from theory to action. --Mike Mattos, coauthor, Pyramid Response to Intervention

Our distictwide success in improving student academic achievement has been a remarkable journey. Learning by Doing has been our road atlas and the PLC concept our GPS as our staff members have built their collective capacity to meet the needs of all students. If you are looking for a clearly delineated road map to building a collaborative professional culture and helping all students learn, the second edition of Learning by Doing is one resource you must have. --Sandra Thorstenson, Superintendent, Whittier Union High School District, Whittier, CA

As educators, we know what it takes to ensure high levels of learning for every child. Compelling, conclusive research proves professional learning communities create the collaborative culture and structures needed to transform our schools into places where all students and educators can succeed. Our problem is not a lack of understanding about what to do, but rather how to turn what we know into daily practice. Learning by Doing bridges this gap, providing the proven practices and practical tools needed to move an organization from theory to action. Like the bunny in The Velveteen Rabbit, my copy has become real its tattered cover, numerous highlights, and earmarked pages demonstrates that it does not sit on my bookcase, but instead lives where I work each day. It has truly been an indispensable resource. In their second edition, the authors have not merely updated the original, but have expanded and refined their recommendations, including greater clarity on the roles of site and district educators, the potential obstacles to becoming a PLC, and the proven solutions to overcome these setbacks. No matter your role in education, if you want to improve the learning for your students, you need this book. --Mike Mattos, coauthor, Pyramid Response to Intervention

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Richard Dufour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, Thomas Many
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