Where is the student voice in our educator Twitter chats? Why are PLC’s teacher-centric? How might we break the silo boundary between teacher professional growth and student learning? I get at least one good idea nearly every time I visit a Twitter chat. This morning I grabbed a seat at the #satchatwc (hosted today by education leadership and innovation thought leader David Culberhouse) table half way through a discussion on digital PLC’s. Intra-school and intra-district PLC’s have been around for a couple of decades; more expansive use caught fire within the last 5-8 years. The explosive (though still limited) use of social media by and for educators has radically expanded our concept of professional collaboration and growth.
Might the next step in this evolution of the global neural network that I have labeled the cognitosphere be the Student-Teacher PLC? If teachers are lead-learners and co-learners in the classroom; if we need, perhaps require, a growth mindset; if we want to model these alongside our students; then why is there a silo boundary between student and teacher in the PLC space?
Yesterday I posted a blog about students in New Zealand and their teacher constructing Impact Projects as a core part of the learning ecosystem. I suggested that a key element of such projects might be connecting with others around the world…students, teachers, organizations…that are treading a similar path. Is this not a PLC? Might not students and teachers equally benefit from these connections? What if students and teachers collaborated in some (or every) class to build and sustain PLC-like connections as part of the learning process?
Every time I try to find a reason to separate teachers and students in the learning process, I fail. Every time I succeed in bringing students into the learning conversation, even at a strategic, all-school level, there is strong agreement on the benefits. Let’s push the boundaries of our thinking and practice!