Learning-Centered Communities:

The Foundation of the Professional Development System

The Professional Development System has as its foundation a learning-centered community characterized by norms and practices that support the integrated learning and development of P-12 students, university students, and PDS partners through inquiry-based practice. Teachers and administrators concur that one of the most important—and rarest-- resource needed to develop effective learning communities is time. Educators need quality time to network among colleagues, to plan for instruction and professional development, and to brainstorm for new and exciting ideas that will challenge and re-energize both educators and students. Time to reflect and inquire together as partners is built into the many structures of this partnership.

Learning-communities that build common understandings of roles and expectations and view that all partners take responsibility for reflecting on their own learning help ensure that teaching and learning are integrated into practice. This partnership has designed a learning-centered supervision/coaching model that facilitates a strong learning team made up of partnership teachers, interns, and university supervisors. Equity is the embodiment of partnership. This authentic learning communities foundation provides for and requires of each partner an equal opportunity for participation in all aspects of collaboration, learning and teaching, accountability, and reflection.

Many PDS frameworks provide for natural forums in learning communities where work and practice are inquiry-based and focused on learning, develop a shared professional vision of teaching and learning grounded in research and practitioner knowledge, and serve as an instrument for change.

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